Riding Milford, PA

This blog came to be when I realized there was simply not enough information available about cycling in the Milford, Pennsylvania area. With many miles of pavement, gravel roads, and lots of trails, Milford is an ideal cycling spot and a great place for the outdoor enthusiast.

Milford is a historic town that sits in the Delaware Valley in Pike County, along the Delaware River, bordering both New York and New Jersey. Milford has lots of cafes, restaurants, and quaint shops that make it a great place to start or finish a ride.

Stay tuned for lots of articles and photos on gravel rides, road rides, and even some mountain bike rides, all in the Milford area!

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Photo Contest-2018

It’s that time of year again. Autumn brings beautiful colors to almost every region in the northeast. That’s why pictures in nature are so popular during fall foliage. Instagram, Facebook and other types of social media are a great source for sharing photos. I love seeing any nature shots, especially when a bicycle, the most simplistic mode of transportation, is featured.

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Cycling is a beautiful sport, we record our rides with Strava, Map My Ride and Ride with GPS. Most entries include a picture. A picture, because average speed, heart rate and elevation gain do not say enough about the ride and less about the experience.

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So, I want your photos. Send me a pic of your bike in nature, by Friday, November 16th at 5pm, for a chance to win a pair of Tifosi Tyrant 2.0/Carbon/Polarized Fototec sunglasses. Send photos to tdf911@ptd.net.

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If we get:

25 photos, we’ll have 2 winners

50 photos, 3 winners

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Can’t  wait to see your submissions!

 

 

 

Old Trail, New Wrinkle

On Saturday, Jason and I decided a full assault on the McDade Trail was in order. I’ve never before, ridden from one end to the other, without deviating from the trail, to avoid the steps and technical section between Milford and Dingmans.

At 55 degrees and sunny, the weather certainly cooperated. We began at the Hialeah Recreation Site, with the intention to ride all 32 miles to Milford Beach, turn around and ride back, without leaving the trail. At 9am, we departed, hitting all the hills south of Bushkill.

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10 miles in and we pedaled through the Bushkill Access. From there, the trail is flat and fast for 13 miles to Dingmans. Crossing Rt. 739, we hammered the short, steep gravel hills leading up to the Bald Eagle Nesting area, where the singletrack and hiking only sections begin. We were able to ride most of the singletrack, but had to hike a bike the staircases.

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The river, currently higher and wider than normal, was moving pretty quickly, creating a gorgeous green pool, just off the trail.

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We cruised past Raymondskill Road, through the corn fields, under the bridge and landed at Milford Beach.  Time constraints and sore legs, sent us back via the pavement. We crossed the bridge and took Old Mine Road to the Dingmans Bridge, shuffled across and landed on Rt. 209 for 12 miles. In Bushkill, we hopped back on the trail, just in time to climb every hill and roll into Hialeah at about 4pm.

I cant wait to make this trip again. Hitting all sections in one ride, we got to experience all the beauty that McDade has to offer.

What’s playing (what am I listening while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky

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2018 Maple City Century

The previous 3 years, I traveled up to Honesdale, PA for the Maple City Century, an off road/gravel/adventure ride. This year, I was joined by Eric, Darrin, Joe and Andrew. If you haven’t heard about this incredible event or read one of my previous reviews, by the end of this post, you’ll be eager to take on the back roads of Wayne County, PA.

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Honesdale is the Maple City. However, this year’s start and finish, took place just outside of Honesdale at the Bluestone Bar and Grill on Rt. 191. With a plus size parking lot and clean bathrooms, the Bluestone was a perfect host. This year’s edition, offered a 62 mile(metric century) and the full 100 mile “shabang”. Doing the 100 the previous 3 years and finishing the last 2, we geared up for the metric and were not let down.

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First, it was 46 degrees at the start. Last year, 90 degrees and humid, made for a long day. This year, real autumn temperatures prevailed as it really made a difference.

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This is the one event I do each year that is completely grass roots. Zach and Stacey Wentzel are the faces at the sign in, they are there to give pre-ride instructions, they are all over the course, they are there at the finish and at the post ride party. Stacey even baked the incredible oatmeal raisin cookies found at the rest stops. Sure, other rides are bigger, but this is the what you’ve been waiting for.

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As far as the ride goes, if you want dirt, gravel, long climbs and the most beautiful scenery Northeastern Pennsylvania has to offer, then this is definitely the ride you’ve been waiting for. Loads of farms, stream crossings, waterfalls and even some singletrack is thrown in for good measure. And did I mention the hills? Yes, your climbing needs will be met!

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“a much needed rest”

The rest stops, as always we’re stocked with water, drink mix, cookies, trail mix, gels, fruit and sandwiches. The volunteers are second to none. They do not just serve you, they evaluate you as they are checking you in to see how your doing. 4CB320E3-DCE4-41BC-A8E2-B64FB89BCE2D

Starting at the Bluestone really made for a nice loop as riders were able to get right onto the back roads. I’ll say this, when you think it’s over, remember, there’s at least a few more climbs.

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Next September, alert your friends and come up to Honesdale and experience the ride you’ll never forget!

Dehydration

Dehydration is a deficit of total body water. It occurs when water loss exceeds water intake. It’s usually caused by exercise, illness, or immursion diuresis. For this post, we will concentrate on exercise and dehydration from sweating.

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Whenever your in a hot or humid climate and participating in exercise, dehydration is lurking just around the corner. Beware: losing 2% of your weight in fluid equates to a 25% loss in performance. And performance is only important when your health is not at risk.

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So, if your busy and forget to drink or just don’t feel thirsty during a long ride or run, you will not be able to replace the water you lose due to excessive sweating and heavy breathing. When your dehydrated, you may feel dizzy or disoriented. You may have muscle cramps or headaches. You could also experience rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, irritability, dark yellow urine, dry skin or fainting.

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What you need to do: First, drink a lot of water, every day! Then, drink 12 ounces of water 1 hour before exercise and 8 ounces, 15 minutes before exercise. During your ride, run, hike, paddle or whatever gets your heart rate up, drink 1 bottle (about 20-24 ounces) for every hour  of effort. In humid conditions, drink 1 & 1/2 bottles an hour. Add sports drink mix to every other bottle for efforts over an hour long.

What makes me such an expert. Experience. I’ve ended up getting carted to a hospital on 3 separate occasions in the last 14 years, due to severe dehydration. Each time, during humid weather, I simply did not drink enough before or during exercise. I felt weak and tried to push on. All big mistakes. The first two times, it took me a couple of weeks to recover. It happened again last weekend, Not because it was hot or humid, but because I did not drink enough and did not listen to my body. So drink, drink drink!

 

 

 

 

Van Dessel WTF 853Ltd: Reviewed

Eighteen months ago, I reviewed the Van Dessel WTF. In that post, I told you everything that this exceptional bike is capable of. Well I also explained how the bicycle industry continually evolves. End users and industry professionals provide valuable reviews to help consumers make smart choices.

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This year, I purchased a Van Dessel WTF 853Ltd. I wanted to put a considerable amount of mileage on this machine before giving you an educated opinion. So, after around 400 miles, my mouth is watering.

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First, there’s a noticeable difference. The 853Ltd loses the double top tube. I’m sure this, along with the Reynolds 853 tubing and full carbon fork, are what contribute to a 5 pound drop in weight.

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Taken from Van Dessel’s website: seamless air hardened heat-treated Reynolds 853 tube set provides more responsive handling and livelier acceleration without losing the charms that make the standard Whiskey  Tango  Foxtrot so beloved. It’s belt drive, single speed and IG hub compatible, accepts a Pressfit 30 bottom bracket and handles 29 X 2.25 tires.

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Seriously, I love my WTF. It’s a beast. I rode gravel, snow and winter pavement in comfort and style. The 853Ltd is all that and more. It accelerates like no other gravel/adventure bike I’ve ridden. It climbs well and handles the rough stuff with ease. My bike has seen only gravel and hard packed dirt roads so far with the occasional bit of singletrack.

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The 853Ltd is available as a frameset, with frame, fork, headset and seat clamp for $1,499. They offer 6 complete builds in either Shimano or SRAM with 1X and 2X drivetrains. The raw steel and pearlized orange are breathtaking!

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Now, I opted for a complete build, with SRAM Force shifters, derailleurs, carbon crankset and flat mount hydraulic disc brakes. I switched out the perfectly capable Mavic Aksium disc wheelset for a set of Bontrager Paradigm Elite disc wheels with WTB Nana 40 tires setup tubeless and the 1130 cassette for a 1150 (with HD hub). I added a Salsa Woodchipper bar and a Thomson seatpost and stem.

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Van Dessel, based in northern New Jersey has been crafting cyclocross, road, mtb and adventure bikes for many years. With the 853Ltd, the Country Bob and the A.D.D., they are sure to have the right bike for any of your adventures.

 

 

Pike County by Bicycle

Cycling Pike County can open many doors, create new experiences and set the table for a fitness lifestyle. Over the past century, bicycles have been used by children and adults as transportation, leisure and fitness. These days, riding a bicycle can take on many different forms. There is mountain biking, road racing, gravel riding, touring, bikepacking, BMX, cafe riding, commuting and just about anything you can imagine. CC255693-A747-4110-B3E7-33C4C79D22D2

Let’s start with one of the most family friendly places to ride, the McDade Trail. Starting at the Milford Beach Trailhead in Milford, this multi use trail stretches 32 miles to Hialeah Trailhead in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The trail surface is crushed stone and remains primarily flat for the first 21 miles, with a few small hills sprinkled in. After The Bushkill Boat Access, the trail climbs sharply into a few switchbacks before rolling on to Hialeah. During the summer months, the Pocono Pony, a free bus service, is available with bike racks going north and south at 7 locations along the trail. At many points, the trail runs along the Delaware River, traversing farms, pine forests, camp grounds and boat launches. Spotting a Bald Eagle, a Black Bear, White Tailed Deer and Wild Turkey is not uncommon.

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The McDade Trail

For mountain bikers that love being on singletrack, Promised  Land State Park has numerous multi use trails that range from beginner to expert with varying terrain. Just to the north of Pike County lies the Port Jervis, NY Watershed Trails. These multi use trails offer some of the best mountain biking in the northeast.

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Rt. 6 is on the Pennsylvania State bicycle route. With it’s wide shoulders, Rt. 6 offers road cyclists the opportunity to ride safely into and out of the wind. Winding through the Delaware State Forest and past Lake Wallenpaupack, Rt. 6 links with many bicycle friendly roadways, creating hundreds of different routes both epic and casual. You can even connect routes through neighboring New Jersey and New York for a tri state tour of the Delaware Valley.

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Next, the Delaware State Forest is filled with emergency access roads and snowmobile trails that allow a mountain bike or a “gravel bike” to glide over the gravel surface through protected natural areas and past glacial lakes. All sorts of wildlife and plants can be spotted in this scenic forest of more than 83 Acres. The Delaware State Forest has 29 campsites complete with pic nic tables and fire rings, making bikepacking (camping from a bicycle) a modest adventure.

 

If you are not into pedaling deep in the woods, then Maybe a casual ride around Milford, the county seat, would satisfy your urge to spin the pedals. The Borough of Milford is laid out with a grid of streets and alley ways that make riding in town a breeze. There are many cafes, eateries and historic place to visit by bicycle. From town, you could ride up to Grey Towers, the home of Gifford Pinchot, the first Director of the US Forest Service or pedal over to the columns museum for a look at the history of Pike County. Pedal over to Rt. 209 and hike up to the “Knob” for a wonderful view of Milford. Cruise down to Milford Beach for a dip in the Delaware River.

Wherever you bike, Pike County has trails and roads that make for a safe, enjoyable sport. Get outside and ride. You can see more from a bicycle that you can from a car and riding a bike is a healthy activity and a great release from everyday life. Hope to see you out there!

 

 

Solstice Campout

On Saturday, Steve, Jason, Darrin and I, ventured out on a bikepacking trip. June 23rd was the worldwide solstice bikepacking event and what better place to camp then the Delaware State Forest.

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We met up at the Rt. 739 parking area at 5pm and pedaled up Five Mile Meadow Road. A right on Ben Bush Trail to Standing Stone Trail brought us through the logging area and over to Silver Lake Road. A short climb and we hammered the 4 miles down Flat Ridge Road.

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We hooked up on the Burnt Mills snowmobile trail system over to Rt. 402 and dropped down to Pine Flats Road. About 2 miles in, there is a water source. This is convenient, because we were camping only about 2 miles further. We filled our bottles and headed to our campsite.

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I reserved the campsite from the PA DCNR. The Delaware State Forest has 29 designated campsites. Ours was perfect. With a stream running nearby, the campsite sat just off the gravel road.

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After setting up sleeping quarters and making a fire, it was time to prepare dinner. I opted for a quick dehydrated meal of Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, cooked expertly on a Jetboil stove.

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We relaxed with a few beers and enjoyed the incredible night afforded us by Mother Nature. The forecast called for a humid day followed by thunderstorms. What we got was a nice breezy day with perhaps a slight drizzle. Perfect weather for a loaded S24hour adventure.

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The next morning brought more beautiful weather. After breakfast, we packed up and retraced our route back to Silver Lake Road, where we turned right to take Five Mile Meadow all the way back.

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Sub 24hour adventures get you out in the woods without a big commitment. Give it try. Until then, check out more pics of our adventure.

 

 

 

Orange County Green

It looks like summer is here. You could not ask for better weather. Well, yesterday presented itself with a chance to take a cruise through some of western Orange Counties most beautiful roads.

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Bill mapped out a hilly course, as Eric and I sat on for what turned out to be a treat. We departed the shop at 7:30am and headed across the Milford bridge and into NJ. We stopped to chat with a gentleman that was pedaling his penny farthing from Maine to Key West. Slipping  down River Road into Port Jervis, NY, we crossed to Neversink Drive. Neversink climbs to Rt. 209. Making a right, we rode 3/4 of a mile and turned left on Peenpack Trail. This is where the real climbing started.

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Peenpack starts out at about 1% for a couple of miles then gradually gets steeper. Winding up and up, we capped the hill just as it dumped sharply for a fun descent to Rt. 42.

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We hung a left and cruised downhill, making a right on Wilson Road. The grade went skyward immediately as the road twisted through old world farm land, revealing views that were second to none. This time the road dumped down to Rt. 97, where a left hand turn took us to the base of the Hawk’s Nest. This incredible portion of roadway provides views of the Delaware River from high above as well as greenery as far as the eye can see.

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After a rip through the West End of Port Jervis, over the bridge and around Mountain Road, we finished up with a strong head wind all the way up Rt. 209 to the shop.

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After a short respite, Bill and I pedaled over to Skyline Drive for one more climb to cap the day. My legs were rubber at this point, so I slowly made my way up and around Milford Hills before descending back to town.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – Billy Joel – Summer in Highland Falls

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Sunshine and Gravel

As spring comes to an end in a couple of weeks, we welcome summer with open arms. After riding through rain and cold for most of the spring, we were treated to a beautiful day.

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To test the early season legs, I hooked up with Eric, Andrew, Joe and Dave for a 50 mile gravel ride through the Delaware State Forest. At 61 degrees, it was just warm enough for short sleeves.

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We departed the Rt. 739 parking area and headed up Five Mile Meadow Road, over a recently resurfaced dirt and gravel roadway. After the Silver Lake climb, we dropped into Little Mud Pond and into the Burnt Mills snowmobile trails. We crossed over to Flat Ridge Road to Lake Minisink and back to Burnt Mills where we hit some rough Jeep Trail and rip rap.

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We regrouped in the Burnt Mills parking area and crossed over Rt. 402 to Pine Flats Road for an easy 2.5 mile descent.

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At the bottom, we hung a sharp right on Highline Road and began the 6 mile climb up to the base of the High Knob. Highline rolls gradually up to Hobaday Road, creating just enough fatigue to make you pull back a little before the big hill.

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We regrouped again at the gate and started up the High Knob Road. For about 1.5 miles, the road circles around the hill as it get steeper and steeper as you get closer to the top. The views were spectacular today. With no fog and plenty of sunshine, you could see forever.

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We had lunch, took a few photos and enjoyed the descent down High Knob and all the way down High Line to Pine Flats. It was just enough to recuperate before climbing back to Rt. 402. Through the rough section and up Flat Ridge to Silver Lake. We took Standing Stone Trail through the deer management area, back to Five Mile Meadow, over a few more hills and down to the parking lot.

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“Eric’s catch of the day”

This is one of my favorite rides. 50 Miles, 4000 feet of elevation, 95% on gravel. Joe and Dave are heading to Canada next week for a ride up the Novia Scotia coast. I hope we helped prepare them.

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I leave you with a few more shots of this fantastic ride.

 

 

 

Milford Gravel

Is it ever going to stop raining? After a snowy, cold winter, the spring has been equally as wet. Weather reports are even calling for flooding this weekend. Well, today offered a short respite with lots of sunshine.

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With the pavement still very wet, I opted for a tried and true gravel route, Heading out of Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of Milford. After slithering through town, I hopped over to Milford Beach and jumped on the McDade Trail. The first 4 miles are so nice. That being said, it looks as though the Park Service has done everything to keep bicycles from going any further than Just past Raymondskill Road. This forces you to walk up to Rt. 209 and ride a few miles before crossing back onto the trail.

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I opted to turn onto Zimmerman Farm Road and ride the horseshoe back to Rt. 209 and go back into the 2nd section of the farm.

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This time, I was met with a few obstacles. Trees were down everywhere. I crawled under and over the trees and made my way to the farm houses. An orange construction fence blocked the road. I rode around and up to the barn for a photo.

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This little guy slid right under my bike

I never noticed a cool old gas pump at what must have been the garage.

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I pedaled out to Rt. 209 for 2 miles and back on the McDade Trail. I rode up to Tom’s creek, turned around and headed back towards Milford. After another stint on Rt. 209, I jumped back on McDade and cruised back to Milford. I really wish that trail was accessible by bike the whole way through.

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As I passed the icehouse, I turned on the gravel section that winds along the river to 3rd street and climbed back up into town.

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What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

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Getting Ready – Swift Campout

Went out today to workout some Kinks. Pedaled out to Lake Minisink via Five Mile Meadow Road, Little Mud Pond and Flat Ridge Road. Just wanted to jump in the hammock, without mosquito enclosure or rain fly.

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Took a little nap, made some coffee and scouted out a new route around the lake. I’ll be venturing out on June 23rd to participate in the 2018 Swift Campout – Solstice Overnighter. You can check out the event at swiftcampout.com.

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I’ll post details later in the month. Mostly just a sub 24 hour overnighter. Probably 25-30 mile ride, a little dinner and campfire. Tent, maybe hammock, then a nice breakfast followed by a return ride of 25-30 miles.

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What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Yes – I’ve seen all good people

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Rasputitsa Gravel Race

This past weekend, Jason and I took the long drive up to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to sample the Rasputitsa Gravel Road Race, a 40 mile trek over some of the toughest roads the Green Mountains have to offer. With over 4500 feet of elevation gain, the course challenges the most adventurous of riders.

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The event was everything they said it would be and more.  Themed after David Bowie’s “We Could Be Hero’s”, it was a world class cycling event, complete with top notch pre and post ride festivities, including a Bowie cover band that was spot on!

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At 45 degrees and sunny, things seemed to be shaping up quite nicely. Starting at Burke Mountain in East Burke, the course dropped into town and after a couple of miles, made its way onto the hard-packed dirt roads.  The first 10 miles seemed to pass by extremely quick. I was starting to think, all the talk about muddy roads and snow covered trails was all hype.

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Then, came Cyberia (why it’s spelled this way, is another Rasputitsa mystery). As we were climbing up the mountain, a volunteer said there was a lot of snow on top. He wasn’t kidding. A half foot of snow turned the joy ride into a hike a bike. If you were able to ride through, you couldn’t, as riders hiked single file down the narrow trail for about 1.5 miles. As advertised, Rasputitsa (Russian for “the mud Season”, when roads become difficult to traverse) was starting to hurt. I don’t know who that young lady was that was giving free hugs at the end of Cyberia, but she certainly brought a smile to many tired souls.

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As soon as we were out of Cyberia, the bottom fell out as riders shot down the mountain. Jason got away from me rather quickly. His mtb skills were on full display, as was the case for most of the day. Wherever you were on the course, mountains were visible, near and far. The next 25 miles, were more of the same: Beautiful scenery, monster climbs, amazing volunteers and fantastic rest stops. Some might say the maple shots were the best or the Rasputitsa bottles and Clif bars came at a much needed time or the craft beer was cool, but, what did it for me was the little girl that handed me a donut as I chugged up that monster hill past the last rest stop. It believe she knew I was struggling.

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Coming down the back side, you could see the ski resort. All around me, grimaces turned to smiles, well for only a few minutes. That’s  when we turned left into what seemed like another Cyberia. I couldn’t help but think, why would they do this to me as I kept falling while trying to ride through. Coming out of it, snow became blacktop. Blacktop became snow and the finish line was in sight.

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What a great feeling as hundreds of finishers hung around to cheer on the riders coming in! We dropped our bikes at the car and joined in the celebration that is Rasputitsa. Tired and fulfilled, I will be back next year, I can’t wait!

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Just Pedaling

Occasionally you just go out for a pedal. By that, I mean, you scrap all plans and just pedal. I planned to do a long ride with lots of hills as kind of a last ditch prep for the Rasputitsa Gravel Race on April 21st in Vermont.

By late afternoon, when it appeared that the forecast of a warm day was not going to happen, I decided to enjoy an easy jaunt through the High Knob section of the Delaware State Forest.

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I met up with Mike at the Maple Run parking area on Rt. 402 and pedaled down Hobaday Road to Highline Road and past Pine Flats. We explored the Hay Road Extension (all gravel roads) until it abruptly came to an end at a gate with numerous no trespassing and keep out signs. That deep in the woods, that’s as far as I go.

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We turned around and headed back. Before we made the turn on Rt. 402, we decided to climb to the top of the High Knob. The loose gravel and muddy surface ascends as it winds around a large rock formation, providing incredible views this time of year, from the top. An easy descent and smooth cruise to the parking lot, capped a really nice ride. Turned out to be just what I needed. When Mother Nature throws you lemons, make lemonade!

45NRTH Wolvhammer – Reviewed

This may seem like an odd time to review a winter boot. It is, but after receiving them in February, I wanted to put in a fair amount of miles before deciding whether or not they become a staple in my winter riding gear.

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I’ve been wanting to find a way out of shoe covers. So, I purchased a pair of 45NRTH Wolvhammer winter boots in February. 45NRTH rates these boots at 0-25 degrees Fahrenheit. I think that is a fair statement. Usually I wear two pairs of wool socks, my shoes, toe covers and thermal shoe covers. A lot of prep just to have numb toes that hurt badly after an hour plus in 10 degree weather.

With one pair of socks, I set out on a 14 degree day on a February morning, fully expecting my big toes to experience the same old story. To my surprise, my feet stayed nice and warm for the entire ride. Styled like a mountaineering boot, the Wolvhammer has a full grain leather and ballistic nylon shell that provide a barrier that keeps your feet feeling rather cozy. The waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry.

I’ve worn these boots on my mid fat mtb as well as my gravel bike. They’ve performed well in the really cold stuff, but when Mother Nature treats us to a warm winter day, go back to your shoes. I have to say that the only drawback is that at upwards of 25 degrees and it feels like your wearing and oven.

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The soles are rugged and perfectly capable on those long winter hike a bike rides, snowshoeing or just a simple-stroll through the woods. Recessed cleat attachment is pretty much the norm for mtb shoes.

Putting them on and taking them off turned out to be a breeze. The laces pull tight with an internal cord lace that Velcro’s to the tongue. Then a heavy duty Velcro strap cinches the whole deal.

After 7 winter excursions, I can honestly say that the 45NRTH Wolvhammer boots will become part of my regular winter get up.

 

 

Gravel Season

Weather patterns have shifted the last few years. What this means long term, I’m not sure. What I do know is that in the northeast, we are able to ride our bikes much later into the year. Our winters have spilled into March and April, bringing us some late snowstorms and chilly spring weather.

However, this holiday weekend, was warm and for the most part, sunny. With a series of weird snowstorms coming up this week, putting in some quality miles was high on my list of priorities.

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Saturday was a group ride. I met up with Eric, Joe and Andrew at Action Bikes & Outdoor in Milford and set out on a mix of B roads, dirt roads and gravel. We slithered through Milford, dropped down past the Metz Icehouse, up to Rt. 209 and over the Milford Bridge. A bumpy ride down what Eric coined “Old Mine Field Road” (due to the many potholes) across Tuttles Corner and up the Peter’s Valley climb.

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The Dingman Bridge in the background

About a mile past Peter’s Valley Crafter’s Village, We veered left onto Brook Road, a dirt path that cuts right through the Walpack area. Brook Road becomes Mountain Road after going through a gate and over a small bridge.

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Midway down Mountain Road, the crown jewel of our ride appeared. Buttermilk Falls cascades almost 100 feet off the Kittatinny Ridge. With the Appalachian Trail passing across the top, it’s a popular destination for local hikers and sightseers.

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“One Lynskey takes a shower, another fights off a tree limb”

We pedaled back out to Haney’s Mill Road and hung a right on the Walpack Flatbrook Road for a climb to the top of the Walpack loop and dropped back down past the Walpack Inn. We took a quick breather at the Peter’s Valley store and continued back over the Peter’s Valley climb.

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Eric peeled off and over the Dingman Bridge as we cruised back along Old Mine Road and back to the shop. It was nice to finally get in an extended ride with good company.

Easter Sunday started out on the dreary side. Rain and snow flurries in the morning turned to sunshine in the afternoon. I went out for a jaunt through the Delaware State Forest. It seems the winter wreaked havoc on the roads, as potholes are everywhere and most of the gravel is off to the sides. Melting snow created a muddy surface that made pedaling feel like a leg workout. My bike and I were covered in mud. It was so much fun!

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How fast can you ride through?

Riding through puddles and creek crossings, turns a dirty ride clean, well, almost. The only way to get your bike dirty is to get out and ride. So what are you waiting for, put down the tablet, laptop or phone and pedal into the woods.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding),  today – Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure

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St. Patrick’s Alpine Pedal

As the trails are covered in snow and the roads are still full of salt, I opted to take the Kona Rove on a road ride. In about a month, I will be headed up to Vermont for the Rasputitsa gravel ride. It’s been tough to get many miles in this winter, so I decided that quality miles would be better than quantity today.

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I set out from Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford, and headed over to Milford Hills to climb Skyline Drive. The grade travels skyward for 650 feet in just over 2 miles. Above the tree line, the views of the Delaware Valley are spectacular.

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I navigated the 4 switchbacks as I descended back to town, and pedaled over to Greenwood Hills, another private community with very little traffic and alpine type hills. The road surface here is a mix of pavement and gravel. The grade is steep as you gain more than 400 feet of elevation in about 2 miles.

 

I dropped down again, and rode to Foster Hill (7th Street). The two and a half mile climb to the Malibu Dude Ranch takes every bit of energy I can muster this early in the year. At the top, I was greeted with gunshots from the nearby range, which sounded so close, that I took a quick photo by the lake and scrambled back down the hill.

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I recovered well on the descent and attempted to climb up Rt. 6. Well, that didn’t last long, as the wind felt like I was pedaling up and into a wall. Getting nowhere, I decided to call it a day and cruise back to Milford.

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“I wore a little green to honor my Irish friends”

Happy with a few thousand feet of elevation, I hope the 45 degree day is a sign of things to come. Lots of adventures planned for the spring and summer, I’ll detail a few gravel rides and bike packing trips in a future post.

 

Snowshoes, Ice & Darkness – 2018 Storms

This has surely been a week to forget. With about 2 feet of snow dumped on the area last Friday, most, including me, have been without power since.

In rural areas, power outages take on a whole different meaning. With the lack of central water and sewers, we rely on Well water and Septic. When there is no power, septic and water pumps do not operate. Internet went out with the power and cell service lasted 12 hours into the blackout.

Today, we were graced with another foot of snow. You simply have to make the best of it. I was lucky enough to get a little exercise, as I donned the snowshoes for a jaunt through the woods with my son.

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No pics of the damage (trees and wires down, cars crushed, homes destroyed). That’s for the news outlets. I just want to hammer home the notion that you have to be prepared. If you have the means, get a generator. Keep 20 gallons of gas on hand, safely away from the house. Store bottled water and canned food. Make sure you have matches and a good old fashioned hardwire telephone. Most times when power goes out, phone lines are in tact.

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A wood burning stove is a good idea. I was lucky enough to have a generator that powers my entire home and a wood burning stove with plenty of wood. I owe a huge thank you to a wonderful neighbor that trudged through the snow to turn on the generator for my wife while I was stuck on a closed road for 17 hours. What I lacked was gas. I searched every gas station in the area on Saturday and finally found enough to fill my containers.

This storm claimed many lives and many are still without power or running water. Please, if you know someone that is suffering because of this storm, reach out and help.

It’s no secret that weather patterns are changing. With that said, try to make the best of what Mother Nature serves up.

Delaware State Forest North

Although I’ve written about this beautiful swath of land in previous posts, I’ve decided to detail certain rides again in 2018 for new readers. With that said, I consider everything north and east of Rt. 402 to be the northern end of the forest.

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This morning, I decided to start at the parking area on Rt. 739. At 40 degrees and sunny, with a warmer outlook, I dressed down and headed up Five Mile Meadow Road. From Rt. 739, the gravel surface climbs for about a mile and a half. I zipped through a mix of gravel and mud sections until I reached Bald Hill, one of many communities nestled in the forest. Your climbing needs will certainly be satisfied on Bald Hill as the gravel goes skyward for 1.25 miles, then drops down for 1.5 miles to the end. The hill seems steeper from the back end.

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I can’t get enough of this sign in front of one of the hunting cabins
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Logo that surrounds Bearded Bastards property

Turning left, back on Five Mile Meadow, I dropped down to Silver Lake Road, turned right and tackled the one paved hill I would see all day. I hung a right into Little Mud Pond, a lakeside community with well groomed gravel roads. A horseshoe that comes right back out, I followed Silver Lake for a mile to Standing Stone Trail.

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Little Mud Pond

Pedaling up Standing Stone offers a completely different view from the previous winter. Loggers took out a big portion of trees, changing the landscape along the right side of the road. The forest is dotted with hunting cabins, some merely shacks, but some have a real rustic appeal.

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After 2 miles, you drop into a creek crossing. It’s very rideable and a lot of fun with a little speed coming off the hill. At the end of Standing Stone, I turned right on Five Mile Meadow, rode up about 2 miles and made another right onto Ben Bush Road, a new road built by the loggers over an old snowmobile trail.

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Ben Bush Road loops back around to Standing Stone Trail. I guess I just wanted to rip through the creek one more time. A left on Five Mile Meadow and before I knew it, I was climbing back up for a mile plus, before descending back to the parking area.

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It warmed up to the mid 50’s by the time I finished, so I was glad I left the jacket in the car. Except for 1.75 miles of pavement on Silver Lake Road, the rest of this Ride was on gravel. Well, gravel and mud.

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In the end, my bike and I were extremely dirty, but our hearts were full.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – The Kinks – Lola

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Slovang

The following is a guest spot from Brian with some gorgeous pics to help get us through the winter!

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Sometimes an offer is just too good to pass up.  So, when a local like-minded cycling/hiking/skiing/beer tasting friend tells me about this great blog he reads and there’s this contest to submit a bicycling photo and win a pair of Tifosi cycling glasses, I started looking through my photos.  Having nothing to lose, and a cool new pair of glasses to possibly gain, I started following the blog and entered Robert’s contest.  I won, and so thanks are in order to all of you who voted for my image of my bike leaning on a Bucks County covered bridge on a snowy day.  And, bigger thanks are in order to Robert for hosting the blog, and the contest.

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Summer, 2017….  A childhood friend of mine that I grew up with in southeastern PA is closing in on his 50th birthday at the end of January, 2018.  Jon moved to San Diego nearly 20 years ago because he “hates the cold”.  For fun, we’d been messaging back and forth about a bicycle vacation to Portland, OR, or some such location, but nothing ever gelled.  Then, out of the blue, he sends me an email and invites me to go on a cycling vacation with him to a warm destination and celebrate his milestone birthday with him.  Having visited him several times in San Diego in years past, it wasn’t hard for him to set the hook.  It is beautiful there, which is why so many cyclists choose to train there year round.  We quickly narrowed down our choices to somewhere in Arizona, or maybe try out an all-inclusive 4 day tour with Trek Travel in Solvang, CA.  Since it was his birthday, I let him choose and so we booked our 4 day Ride Camp with Trek Travel to Solvang for the end of January into the beginning of February, 2018.  We figured it would be nicer to just let someone else handle all the details and that way we’d end up spending less time fretting over minutia and more time having fun on 2 wheels.  Jon knows I ride all year in PA, as does he in San Diego and so we knew we’d be fit enough to put in some big mile days together this early in the year.
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 Some background on Solvang…it is a small city in the Santa Ynez Valley of California, known for its Danish style architecture.  The area outside of town is full of hills, vineyards, horse and cattle farms and agriculture.  It definitely has a tourism driven economy, and so it caters to showing out-of-towners a good time.  We stayed at the Hotel Corque, which was very comfortable for our time there.  There are tons of shops and restaurants, a totally awesome motorcycle museum, places to do wine tastings, and Firestone Walker Brewing is only 3 miles down the road in Buellton.  Yes, we went there.  Mmmmm, beer.  Since Trek Travel pretty much handles everything except your transportation to and from Solvang, we just had to drive up from San Diego after I arrived from frigid PA.  The package included lodging, nearly all food, bikes and helmets and a Garmin with all routes pre-loaded, two guide hosts to show you around and ride with you, and a Trek Travel support van to refuel from or drop clothes in as the day warmed up.  The riding was very enjoyable with high temp’s around 80* every day, along with mostly sunny skies.  It was a wonderful mid-winter reprieve for me to go someplace warm, be with my friend, meet some new folks and put in some miles.  We rode 4 consecutive days totaling about 165 miles and then said goodbye to our hosts and Solvang.  I booked a few extra days to spend back in San Diego with Jon and his family, and so a day later we put in a beautiful road ride through Rancho Santa Fe which included some coast time.  My friend Dawn, also formerly from PA drove from Upland, CA to come see me and joined us on the last ride.   A good week indeed, as Jon and I ended at just over 200 miles each.  I landed back in Philadelphia on the eve of the Super Bowl, and as I drove home to Upper Bucks County all I could think about was how much I wasn’t enjoying driving in the ice storm that fell that evening.  It was sunny and warm just a few hours earlier that same day…on the other coast.
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Feeling Spring

A couple of weeks ago, that dreaded groundhog saw his shadow. Whether that means six more weeks of winter or not, I truly do not know. What I do know is that these past few days have been warm, 50’s and 60’s. With a snow storm looming for Saturday night, the pressure was on to get a ride in.

Being sick since late January, has kept me off the bike. Feeling weak, with constant headaches and swollen legs, has kept me on the shelf and not thinking I could ride, until today. I peeled myself off the couch and ventured out for a short spin. I’m glad I did. With a 60 degree day, snow and ice disappeared and water was everywhere.

976F6BC2-F011-4229-A476-6CC207727830Streams and creeks appeared in culverts and roads. It was a lot of fun. The pace was slow, the bike got real dirty and my backside got wet. I hope this is a sign of things to come. I would like to stop talking about how cold it’s been and start detailing new rides and adventures.

Whats playing, (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time

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McDade Thaw

It’s been awhile. Although I have been riding, my tolerance for single digit pedaling has weened to about once a week. After a warm autumn, winter hit the tri-state area with temperatures hovering around 0 for nearly 3 1/2 weeks. The last week or so, it’s been getting warmer and with a 45 degree day, yesterday, it was game on for a rip down the McDade Trail.

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I met up with Eric at Dingman Falls. We jumped across Rt. 209 and headed south towards Bushkill. The recent rains and 2 days of thaw, melted just about every bit of snow and ice that’s covered the trail for the last month or so.

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However, the ice chunks that sit between the Delaware River and the McDade Trail, at the Bushkill Boat Access, was absolutely amazing.

After a strong ride to Bushkill, I bonked on the way back. Probably overdressed and under hydrated. No matter, it was still amazing to be able to get out there and turn the pedals for a couple of hours.

 

Winter Bike Washing

When temperatures reach the freezing levels, keeping your bike clean never seems to be easy. This winter in particular has presented riders with sub-zero tempts, throughout the northeast, midwest and abroad.

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In past years, I would fill my wife’s largest pot with water from the kitchen sink, drench my bike out on the driveway, soap it up, brush and rinse. With hose bibs shut off this time of year, we are left with few options to keep the road salt, mud, snow and ice off our steeds.

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Recently, a couple of local riders have brought their bikes inside and cleaned them in the shower, which I’m sure is probably very effective. However, I don’t think I’m the only one to say, that would not go over well in my house.

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Not a great idea!

Another option, which I’ve tried, is the self service car wash. Again, effective, but with two drawbacks. The high pressure hose, if not kept far from bike can damage paint and small parts as well as get into bottom bracket shells, head tubes and hubs. This can cause all sorts of issues that quite frankly, you want to avoid. Also, the hot water at the car wash freezes in colder temps before you can dry your bike off. You need to get at least the salt off your bike, what to do?

Through internet research and trial and error, I’ve found a better way. Not full Proof, but a cleaner, more precise method of cleaning your bike, far from a hose or electricity. Simply fill a 2 gallon pressurized sprayer with warm water, wet bike down, spray on some bike wash, I like Finish Line Super Bike Wash, scrub bike and rinse.

 

The pressure is not high enough to damage your bike, but effective enough to clean it off. You can do this in your garage, basement, driveway or before you leave the trail.

After you fully clean and dry off your bike, don’t forget to lube your chain. Liberally pour on chain lube as you back pedal and run through all your gears. Then, back pedal again, as you hold rag to bottom of chain to get the excess off. Give it a try, it has worked great for me!

 

2017 in Review

Year end posts should not be about what a remarkable year you had. Instead, they should celebrate all you’ve learned in the previous 12 months and how you can use that to be a better person and make a more positive impact. Taken from the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, I like to remind myself and arrogantly others, “be the village”. You see, for years, I have thought of myself as  the village. Someone who is so above help that I pass judgement on those who seek out and accept help. In reality, I’ve just been fortunate in some areas of my life.

That said, Happy New Year!

2017 was a year of fantastic riding. We had our first hill climb challenge, road a lot of dirt and gravel and I really learned to appreciate any time I can be on a bike.

In 2018, we are going to put together Some cool new challenges to keep everyone riding strong. Another hill climb challenge, an off road challenge and maybe a 30 day mileage goal. While a challenge really keeps you motivated and pushes you to reach new heights, just riding your bike on most days is enough!

So, enjoy your day of rest today and get back on your bike soon!

I leave you with a pic of what hopefully your future rides do not look like or maybe they should!

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Again, Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Almost Winter

When the days are short and the nights are long, the weather dictates when and where your outdoor activities take place. Two days before winter starts, and the temperature jumped from below freezing to 51 degrees. Having had two snowfalls already, I was fully prepared to break out the snow shoes.

With Hanukkah over today and Christmas, Kwanza and Festivus right around the corner, family obligations and holiday preparations take center stage when not at work.

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But, since this is a cycling blog, you know I found a window to get outside and pedal. I attempted to roll into the Delaware State Forest, but with little sunshine in the woods, the roads were still pretty iced over. So, I simply hit every back road in my community that I could find.

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It looks like the weather will stay somewhat warm throughout the weekend.  Before winter prevails, I hope to get a few more rides in.  Mtb, gravel or road doesn’t matter. What bike I ride is of little importance. I simply enjoy being able to ride this late in the year. I hope you get to ride as well.

7 Days/7 Rides

Entertaining the notion that riding outdoors ends in the fall, is sort of giving in to Mother Nature. Well, that’s easy to say, when the temperatures in late November, early December are still in the 40’s. Anyway, I thought that it would be a good time to get in some road rides, mountain bike rides and gravel adventures.

I started on Tuesday with a commute to work. When I left my house, it was 19 degrees. I layered up and dealt with the wind. I was just happy to be on my bike.

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On Wednesday, I did a unique ride, mixing in some gravel, pavement, dirt and grass. It was 50 degrees and I took full advantage, riding in shorts and shortsleeves.  I rode up to Five Mile Meadow Road, grinded through the loose, new gravel until I heard the first gunshot. I thought I’d leave the hunters alone and head back into the community for an unauthorized spin through Seneca Lake Park.

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I had a few extra hours on Thursday morning, so I looped around my community on the road bike, hitting every hill I could find.

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On Friday, my son joined me for a mtb ride through the Watershed. Another 50 degree day, allowed us to dress down and enjoy a few hours of rocks, roots and beautiful singletrack.

Saturday morning brought some gravel grinding through the Delaware State Forest with Andrew. This time, I opted for a mostly orange getup. Action Bikes and Outdoor, produces an orange jersey each year, making it easy to get out in the wild, during hunting season.

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Andrew in Safety Orange & Hi-Viz Green

On Sunday evening, my son and I went back into the Delaware State Forest for a spin under the stars, powered by our Bontrager Ion 800 headlights. A full moon helped illuminate the woods. We took a couple of cool new roads that I’ll detail in a later post.

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Monday morning was cold. 20 degrees at 6:30am. I grabbed a quick ride on gravel, dirt and grass. The hill I’ve been practicing my grass descents on, was covered with a thin layer of frost, making for a few slippery ups and downs. Easy to deal with, when the fog is burning off the lake at the top of he hill.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), Today – The Greg Kihn Band – The Breakup Song (1981)

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Photo Contest – Finalists

The time has come; no more photos. After sifting through the thousands of submissions (that might be a bit of an exaggeration), we’ve narrowed it down to three finalists.

While all the pics are beautiful, only 3 can be finalists. Now, it’s your job to pick the winner. Please, help me select the winning photo by posting to comments and picking photo 1, 2 or 3.

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1. Snowy Covered Bridge submitted by Brian
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2. Riding Golden, Colorado submitted by Mike
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3. Autumn on the McDade submitted by Eric

Thank you for your votes! A winner will be picked on Friday, November 24th.

 

 

Photo Contest Update

Because I’m a boob, I have not figured out how to upload a photo in comments. So, since I can’t remember how I received photos last year, you can send any photo/submissions to tdf911@ptd.net. Sorry for the confusion, I’ll get it right by next year.

So, get outside and ride. Do not let the weather keep you from turning those pedals and take lots of pictures!

Photo Contest/ Tifosi Sunglasses Giveaway

It’s that time of year again. Riding Milford’s 2nd annual photo contest. To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the blog and to recognize how beautifully cycling and photography go hand in hand.

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You see, there are cyclists who ride to simply go fast, and while there is certainly a place for that, a lot of us are now simply riding for escape and adventure. We slow down to take in the sights, explore new paths and record our rides a different but not unique way, in photographs. We post them on social media for all the world to see. And for that we are lucky. Lucky to get a look at what someone else experienced. Lucky to reach out and let that person know how beautiful their ride was.

IMG_0620To enter the contest, comment to this post, with a photo of your bicycle in nature by 8:00pm on Sunday, December 19th. The winner will receive a pair of Tifosi Crit, Fototec sunglasses in Crystal Black (an $80 value).

If we receive 25 photos, there will be 2 winners!

If we receive 50 photos, there will be 3 winners!

Can’t wait to see your pics!!

Autumn in the Delaware Valley

Each year, it seems, we get treated to something different. This year, summer lasted until mid October. I’m not complaining. However, with Halloween just a few days away, we need more than just a few leaves to fall.

Most places are beautiful in the fall. Milford and the surrounding area benefit from sitting between the Catskills and Pocono Mountains and along the Delaware River, making for a gorgeous place to pedal.

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If you want to see for yourself, get out on the McDade Trail, ride through Peter’s Valley via Old Mine Road, climb up to High Point or traverse the many gravel roads that make up the State and National forests that encompass our region. If you ride a mountain bike or want to learn, look no further than the Port Jervis Watershed Trails. Fall can be seen here at its fullest, with vibrant colors reflecting off the 3 reservoirs, creating a magical atmosphere.

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Oh, and the trails are second to none. Visit Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford for large scale paper maps with color coded trails to guide you along. A ride up to the Hawk’s Nest on Rt. 97 provides breathtaking views of fall foliage along the river and Route 6 in Pike County has far from a shortage of colorful places to enjoy all that fall has to offer.

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After your ride, sample the many cafes and restraunts throughout the Delaware Valley. It’s a great way to cool down, reflect and replenish.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – American Girl

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The Great Allegheny Passage

Hi folks, this is guest blogger Mike. I’m a riding buddy of Rob’s and he asked me to share an experience my wife and I had last week riding the GAP. For those of you who live in Milford, PA, when someone refers to the “GAP” you know they are talking about the Delaware Water Gap. To those in southwestern PA, the GAP is the Great Allegheny Passage, a nearly 150 mile rail to trail biking and hiking route that retraces the former B+O Railroad line through the Allegheny Mountains from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA.

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The start in Cumberland, MD
The GAP today uses the series of tunnels, bridges and viaducts that were built in the early 1900’s to connect the Chesapeake Bay to the Ohio River. A separate trail, the 185 mile long C+O Canal Trail, connects Washington D.C. to Cumberland, MD. The GAP trail fully opened in 2013 after years of work rebuilding the tunnels and bridges, and then paving the entire trail with crushed limestone. The last 15 miles of the trail into Pittsburgh are paved with asphalt. Logistically, the GAP is very easy to access and travel on. Each town that the trail passes through has parking and toilets for day riders. Some towns have water fountains available and
a few even have a small bike repair stand fully equipped with tools and tire pumps. Each mile of the trail is marked with a concrete post so you always know how far along you are. There are also dozens of campgrounds along the way for those who chose to camp vs. staying in hotels or Bed and Breakfast Inn’s. Many of the campgrounds are free for bikers and are even stocked with free firewood. The larger towns on the GAP have B+B’s that specifically cater to cyclist. There are also many outfitters that will plan your entire trip, complete with a guided support vehicle so all you need to do is pedal to the next destination. Amtrak also operates the “Capital” Line which has a train car with a bike storage room that stops in Pittsburgh, Connellsville, PA, and Cumberland to transport you and your bike before or after the ride.

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Crossing the Mason Dixon Line

My wife and I decided to try this ride the first week of October to take advantage of the fall foliage and the cooler riding temperatures. We started in Cumberland, which was about a 300 mile drive from Milford. There are a few hotels in Cumberland near the trailhead and they all cater to the cyclists. We were allowed to bring our bikes into our room. There is also free parking near the trailhead, under the interstate overpass, and it was a safe place to leave your car for a week. There is also a local bike shop only a few yards from the start just in case of any last minute adjustments or needed supplies. The National Park Service has an information
center at the trailhead with maps of the trail and brochures of each town along the way to Pittsburgh.
I planned our trip to ride a total of 4 days, with a day off in the middle. My wife is a novice rider and had never ridden further than 30 miles in one day. She had no problems conquering the GAP. The trail is nearly flat with the exception of the first 23 miles from Cumberland to the Eastern Continental Divide. The total climb to the Divide was 1800 feet with a nearly constant grade of only 1.6%. My wife handled the climb without any difficulty. The scenery was breathtaking and we stopped several times for photo ops. We stayed the first night in Myersdale, PA (32 miles). Our B+B was one block from the trail and had secure bike storage in the basement. We met several other riders during our stay and had fun exchanging stories.

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Myersdale, PA The second day was an equally scenic ride to Ohiopyle, PA (40 miles). We spent an extra day here to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” and also to do some hiking around the Youghiogheny River. Ohiopyle is also a great place to do some white water rafting on a day off. The 3rd day of riding followed the “Yough” to West Newton, PA (42 miles). The rain was off and on this day which made for a muddy ride, but the scenery was still amazing. My wife’s bike had
a minor mechanical issue we were able to get fixed in Connersville at a bike shop right on the trail.
The final day to Pittsburgh (35 miles) saw the trail change from a scenic ride in the woods to an urban feel the final 15 miles. Multiple bridges over the Monongahela River made for several more photo ops with the city of Pittsburgh in the background. Our son, who is a student at the University of Pittsburgh, joined us on his bike for the final 7 miles to Point State Park, where the GAP ends. This is where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join to form the Ohio River. After an evening in Pittsburgh, we rode the Amtrak “Capital” back to Cumberland to retrieve our car.
Overall we had an amazing experience on this ride and would definitely do it again. It is something that even a novice rider could do easily. Meeting other cyclists along the way was one of the highlights of the trip. As for the song that would best describe this journey…. it would have to be “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes”!!! For more info on the GAP visit: http://www.GAPtrail.org

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Salisbury Viaduct near Myersdale, PA

Some more pics of this awesome ride!

 

Ride Your Bike

Autumn has decided to play hard to get. With the unseasonably warm weather hanging around, why not find time for extra miles? All I can think about is which bike to ride!

Our time is valuable. When you get a chance to get outdoors, make it count. Go out one day and just ride for hours. Ride as far as your legs will take you. Ride a road bike on a dirt road, a hybrid or cyclocross bike on a mountain bike trail or a Mtb on the street.

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Forget everything and just pedal. Take pictures, get a flat, change your tube, finish your ride. Get dirty out there. Ride through the mud, the rain, the snow, the wind or whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you!

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Stay up late and map out a ride or just read a shitty novel and wing it the next day. Either way, ride your bike. Ride to the cafe, the pizza parlor or the tavern. Fill up on whatever delights you, then ride some more. Get a headlight and ride at night.

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Every now and then, I’m off the bike for a few days to a week for whatever reason. The first ride back always feels like the best ride of the year. You get the idea, just get out there and pedal!

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – The Pretenders –  Middle of the Road

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2017 Maple City Century

Last year, I wrote in detail about what a wonderful event the Maple City Century turned out to be. Based in Honesdale, PA, the event offers rides of 30, 62 and 100 miles, all on gravel and dirt roads with a little pavement thrown in to connect the sections, What I didn’t tell you was that this grass-roots gravel ride, is a family run event. Zach Wentzel, the founder and director, operates with a tight knit and dedicated crew. He, his wife Stacy and his parents are intimately involved and it shows. All riders and staff are treated like first class passengers on their flight around Wayne County.

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Zach and Stacy personally sign everyone in at the registration table. After a pre-ride meeting, the 100 milers are sent off with a Police escort out of Honesdale and onto some of the nicest gravel roads in the northeast. An hour later, the 62 and 30 mile riders receive the same send off.

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This is my third year doing the 100 mile ride and I have seen the route, which is marked with clear color coded arrows for each distance, gets better each time. The aid stations are well stocked and staffed by the friendliest volunteers, who encourage the riders and supply them with a wide variety of fuel, ranging from water, Pb&j & Nutella, Gatorade, fruit, pickles, packaged energy bars, and homemade goodies in sandwich bags.

Zach took matters into his own hands, taking over photographer duties this year and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Stacey was everywhere on the course, making sure riders had a safe passage back to Honesdale.

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Riding with Eric and Darin proved to be the right call, as they motivated me to drink and waited at the top of the hills amid unseasonably hot temperatures. We hit Brown Trout Trail, a 5 mile section of rocks and roots, that as I explained last year, is anything but easy. However, the waterfall and creek crossing were rather dry, enabling you to ride right through it.

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After stopping as rest stop 2, you could really feel the heat and the hills. The cold Coca Cola and pickles helped me forget about the pain. Pedaling out, we hit a series of hills that seemed to go on forever, a tradition of sorts at Maple City; rest, then climb again. As we approached rest stop 3 at 75 miles, I saw the Action Bikes and Outdoor tent from around the corner and it was like I was wandering in the desert and found an oasis.

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Mike and John were awesome, they fed us everything we could eat and after packing up, they caught up and provided an escort complete with lights as we struggled through the last few hills in the dark. At the finish, Zach was there waiting to hand us our gold medals, the well earned traditional finisher’s MCC beer growlers. Which are happily filled at the post ride host, the Irving Cliff Brewery.

 

 

There are so many big endurance events out there and some claim to be grass roots, while they continue to grow and make registration a lottery.  The Maple City Century is truly a grass roots event that I hope grows, but feels more like a hometown ride that will be on my calendar for years to come, although the Metric Century might be next years best course of action for me.  Check out some more pics from this really cool event:

 

 

 

 

Tour de Force – Day 4

Let me start by saying that riding with and doing support for so many fantastic people for the last 16 years has been a blessing. At the banquet, the previous night, I was honored as the founder of the ride. I was given a plaque and a mtb wheel with a plaque on the inset, expertly fabricated by Eric Swanson of Adventure Cycling in Aurora, CO. I accept these, knowing that Mike and Mike have carried me for many years.

IMG_0512With that said, let’s get to the ride. We started from the Sheraton in Melville, NY and rode down Rt. 25 through urban Nassau County for 22 miles to the Floral Park Municipal Field, where lunch was served (The Nassau County Police Department expertly blocked all intersections to Floral Park). Seems like a short distance for lunch, but the rest of he day’s events were going to be slow as we were escorted as a group to the finish.

IMG_0507From Floral Park, the NYPD took over the escort and wow, were we treated like dignitaries. Eight motorcycles blocked every intersection, through Queens, over the 59th Street Bridge and into Manhattan. Then the challenging part came when the streets of lower Manhattan, so congested at 1:30pm on a Tuesday, were turned into the Tour de Force Expressway. Motorcycles roared, helicopters soared and every rider and support team member, were cheered on by the thousands watching and  patiently waiting to go about their day.

IMG_0524We paused briefly in front of the still boarded and fenced Ground Zero for a moment of silence. The Freedom Tower, although not a replacement for the Twin Towers, looked glorious in the September sky.

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Arriving at Wagner Park, in Battery Park, we were treated to numerous Mounted Poilce Officers, guarding the mezzanine aboard their loyal steeds.

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In the Hudson, just behind the park were the NYPD Harbour Patrol boats as Police helicopters hovered overhead. A welcome home for some,  a hero’s send off for others. You see, many of our riders and support team come from all over the country.

IMG_0525These were and are an amazing 4 days of cycling. We cannot forget the victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. You are all in our prayers. We cannot wait until next year when we welcome back all our riders that had to back out because of the recent storms. Your presence was sorely missed.

I leave you with some more photos of this incredible 4 day journey.

 

 

Tour de Force – Day 3

The day started with a ferry ride from New London, Ct to Orient Point, NY. After unloading bikes and some last minute prep, riders pedaled through the amazing Long Island wine country, with a first rest stop at the Greenport Harbour Brewing Company and although not recommended, I’m sure more than a few riders indulged.

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With about 65 miles left, the ride winded down Rt. 25 through some of the most beautiful fishing towns on the island. Lunch was served at Fink’s Farm in Calverton, NY by John Carro and owners, Dave and Michelle. who served up hero’s reminiscent of John’s former deli, the Steer Seller.

Every day’s ride on the Tour de Force ends with a story. Each rider finishes day 3 with a medal and the memories of a ride with friends and family that will last a lifetime. Two survivors, Mimi and Mikayla, were at the finish line, handing out medals.  At our banquet that night, we honored them, and recognized their truly beautiful efforts to pay it forward.

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You see, nine years ago, we made a donation to Mimi to honor her husband, Perth Amboy, NJ Police Officer Thomas Raji, who was killed in the line of duty. She was pregnant with Mikayla. A few months ago, while eating in a restaurant, Mikayla noticed a Police Officer eating alone. She struck up a conversation with him and asked her mom to pay for his dinner. Mimi did just that and asked the owner not to tell him. The Officer found out that Mimi and Mikayla paid for his dinner. He arranged for MiKayla to throw out the 1st pitch at a NY Yankee game. Seeing this, we knew that Mikayla had to be honored in front of our riders. Speaking with Mimi, she explained that we were the first organization to come to her aid and she purchased her husbands headstone with funds from our donation. This is truly a family that suffered a tradgedy, received a few random acts of kindness and paid it forward.

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Mikayla with her best friend Sydney

 

We had two more special guests. You can read about their amazing story on Facebook at the Tour de Force 911 Memorial Bike Ride page.

Some more photos from an incredible day of cycling:

 

 

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TDF day 2

Life is great on the Tour de Force. Let me explain: First, there is no better group of people than those that put others before themselves. Second, every TDF rider and Support team member, quickly become family. You can’t avoid it. Once you put on the TDF garb ( jersey), it just happens.

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Today, started in Warwick, RI and took us 75 miles through the heart of New England. Today was my day to ride. As I have explained before, the logistics just do not allow the organizers to get on a bike and forget absolutely everything else in our lives for four days. Days 2 and 3 allow riders to wear what ever jerseys they wish. Some form teams and represent with custom jersey designs. I choose to wear TDF jerseys from years past.

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Me, loving life!

The route carried riders through some as of the most gorgeous landscape that  New England has to offer. Narragansett and Watch Hill are two of the nicest beach front communities on the east coast.

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Fueling up!

All photos during the 4 day ride are taken by Diane, our photographer. She has made life easy for us. Diane always seems to be there to get the important shots. She uploads to Facebook on the tourdeforce 9/11 Memorial Ride page. The weather was pretty good today, minus the wind. All 247 riders made it safely to the finishing line.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Tour de Force – Day 1

Last year, I had the pleasure to detail the events that led to the creation of the Tour de Force 9/11 Memorial Ride, which raised money for first responders killed in the 9/11 attacks and ultimately led to raising money for the families of Police Officers killed in he line of duty, nationwide. IMG_6041

This year, the tour will go from Boston to NYC. This morning, it started at the Boston Marathon finish line in the city’s Copley Square district. After an expertly executed escort by the Boston Police Department’s Motorcycle unit, riders made their way to the Denham, MA American Legion for the first of 3 rest stops. From there, they were released at their own pace. Support vehicles made their way to the front, along the route and a trail vehicle followed the last rider.

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With near perfect weather, the day was something the riders would not soon forget. The miles clicked by rapidly as the terrain was as flat as any day pedaling out of Boston can be.

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Milford cyclists, Andrew and Joe pedaling out of rest stop 1

Most of the route went through urban areas, saving the beautiful scenery of New England for tomorrow and traveled through numerous traffic circles, eventually finishing in an undisclosed location, 60ish miles from the start.

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John and Gonzo Support Team veterans

All riders finished safely, with the help of our amazing support team. 42 men and women from around the country, filled coolers, setup rest stops, directed traffic, fixed flats and kept this ride moving forward for the 16th consecutive year.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I detail my one day on the bike through the incredible Rhode Island and Connecticut countryside.

 

 

 

 

 

Marking the Course

On Monday, Mike H. and I traveled to Boston to nail down a few last details, with a week to go before the Tour de Force. Last September, I detailed this 4 day journey that took us from Washington, DC to NYC.

Most of the logistics and planning are done from my home office here in Milford, giving me the notion that it’s ok to tell you all about it. This year’s ride will take 300 riders from Boston to NYC.

Although the event is completely supported, riders, at their own pace, follow the route, each day to the host hotel. With that in mind, as we left Boston on Tuesday, we drove the first two days of the route, painting arrows leading up to and through each turn.

This is one of the most important tasks when planning an organized group ride. It’s the best way to mark the course.  The paint adheres to the pavement and last for about 3 months. Most cyclists will see a painted arrow. Signs have a tendency to be removed or blow away in the wind. We pre-ride the course each morning to double check the arrows and repaint if necessary.

This is the 16th year that my brother Mike, my friend Mike and myself have organized this ride. I get just as excited leading up to the event as I did in 2002. You can check out our website at WWW.tourdeforceny.com. I will detail each days ride, starting on September 9th.

 

Buckhorn Fire Tower

Sometimes you learn a new route and fall in love. Matt told me about a ride he did with his dad last week. Being a mostly gravel route, I have to say it peaked my interest. Yesterday afternoon, I hooked up with Eric at Action Bikes and Outdoor to make a trip from the shop to the Buckhorn Fire Tower.

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We departed at 5pm, zig zagged out of town and climbed up Rt. 6 to Schocopee Road. Schocopee is a newly paved road that continues to go skyward, especially as you bear right onto Fire Tower Road, where he gravel starts.

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We took Fire Tower Road until it ended in a gravel parking lot. About a half mile before the lot is a left on Buckhorn Ridge Trail. A short trip on the trail and you’re at the Fire Tower. I’m not sure if this relic is still in use. It’s pretty wobbly and most of the nearby pine trees sit a bit higher than the tower, blocking views of he forest. From the looks of things, this was quite a party spot, some time ago.

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We descended back down to Schocopee Road, made a right and climbed up to Lily Pond. This section of Schocopee is gravel, pave, gravel, as it dips and rises through the forest, bringing you to a beautiful park. You could ride around the lake, although time did not allow it.

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We did a lot of climbing on our way up to the fire tower and again as we reached Lily pond, so you can imagine just how delightful the descent back to town was! We ripped down to Rt. 6 and cut through Old Owego Road as we snaked through town and back to the shop.

No music today, just some more pics of the his really pretty area.

 

When We Gravel, We Grind

With the Maple City Century quickly approaching, Eric, Darin and I took advantage of the unseasonably cool, late August weather and grinded out a 40ish mile gravel ride. Starting just after dawn gives you enough time to get miles in and still have most of the day with the family.

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We Pedaled out of Dingman Falls and over the Dingman Bridge. Needless to say, it was quite foggy. We climbed just above Peter’s Valley and dumped into the gravel section of Old Mine Road. Besides the many potholes and puddles, this a very fun section. Downhill on gravel for the better part of 6 miles, makes riding along the Delaware River a cool experience.

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We turned left on Pompey Road, climbed up, making a left into Ridge Road, a dirt trail littered with rocks and roots for the first mile. It then turns to high weeds on a broken up double track (leaving spools of grass in cassettes and around pedal spindles).

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Ridge Road comes out onto Thunder Mountain Road. The transition from overgrown forest to gravel road was sort of a relief. After 45 minutes, you realize you only went 3 miles. Bonus, the fog was burned off by the bright sun, one day before the solar eclipse. Thunder Mountain runs up to Kuhn Road and right through the heart of the Peter’s Valley School of Craft. We turned right on Kuhn and left on Walpack Road, over the hill and back over the Dingman Bridge.

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Back at the cars, we changed out our water bottles and headed down to the McDade trail for the 2nd part of the ride. About 2 miles in, a half eaten fish falls from the sky, or the trees. Darin spotted an Eagle that flew directly above us and over the river. Apparently, we interrupted the eagles’ breakfast.

We continued at a pace that was probably too fast for me, but I needed the punishment. We arrived at the Bushkill Boat Access and after a brief rest, turned around and rode a torrid pace back to our cars. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones enjoying this beautiful day. There seemed to be quite a few people hiking, bird watching and trail running.

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This is not the first time I’ve pedaled either of these routes, but I never put them together before and I’m glad we did. By he way, most photos while riding are taken by Eric, who always seems to have his phone on the ready!

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What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Jigsaw – (you’ve blown it all) Sky High IMG_0425

 

Bontrager Ion 800 RT – Reviewed

Having been caught out on the trail or the road, too many times after the sun has gone down, I’ve had to use a head light to find my way. My old light, while powerful, was wired to a battery pack, that was stashed under the stem. Bulky and cumbersome.

I recently acquired a Bontrager Ion 800 RT and put it to immediate use. I went out for an evening gravel ride from Milford, down the McDade Trail and up through both sections of Zimmerman Farm. I cruised down Rt. 209 and back on the McDade for a few miles before turning around and retracing the route. By time I hit Zimmerman Road, it was pretty dark. I clicked on the Ion 800 RT, and was surprised at how well it lit up he trail. I cruised Zimmerman, Rt. 209, McDade and back through town with complete confidence.

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The next day, I did a morning road ride and used the Ion 800 RT’s daytime flashing mode. This unique function can be seen from over 1.5 KM away. Critical when riding on busy streets. Let’s face it, most people text and drive. There are so many distractions to keep driver’s from seeing everything in the roadway. We wear helmets to protect our heads in the event of a crash, Why not give yourself the best chance to avoid that crash!

The following was taken from Trek’s website:

  • Transmitr remote displays battery status indicating when charge is needed
  • See with our focused optics and over 270 degrees of visibility
  • 800 Lumens via high-power CREE LED
  • 800LM-1.5hrs, 450LM-3hrs, 200LM-6hrs, night flash-20hrs, day flash 20hrs
  • Fully charges in 6 hours through sealed Micro USB port
  • Includes 20 degree +/- adjustable Sync bracket that fits bars from 22.2-35.0mm
  • Blendr compatible, secure bar mount available  14303_A_2_Ion_800_RT

The Ion 80 RT is a nice compliment to the Flare R tail light. Both have night time as well as day time modes. To boot, the Ion 800 RT weighs much less than most head lights. I am extremely pleased and will use daytime modes whenever I’m on a paved roadway.

 

Stewart State Forest

About a 40 minute drive from Milford, sits Stewart State Forest, known to many as the Stewart Buffer Land. Matt and I decided to make the trip east on Rt. 84 yesterday (with a pit stop at Arlene and Tom’s Restaurant in Port Jervis to fuel up) for what proved to be a really nice day out on the trails.

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There are a few designated parking areas. We decided to make Weed Road our base camp. We started out on the Orchard Trail and did not see a rock or root all the way to Giles Road. We jumped over to Rock Wall Trail and found out quickly how it got it’s name. In the first half mile, you traverse 4 rock walls, and yeah, the rocks and roots appeared.

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We followed Rock Wall to Mid Earth to New Road. We made a left on White Cloud Trail, climbed a few hundred feet and dropped back down through the wetlands and back up to Bypass Trail and over to Windsor Trail. Looping back to Weed Road we pedaled up the gravel hill and back to the parking area for lunch.

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After a couple of pb&j sandwiches, we headed back down Weed Road, hungry for more singletrack. We found a jewel! Causeway Trail to Shields Trail to Drakes Trail is like a deep forest pump track. Hoping over to Mid Earth, we crossed New Road and took Senior to Waterfall.

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Waterfall really tests you. It’s a little bit technical singletrack and a little bit hike a bike, up rock formations that appear like waterfalls. We followed Waterfall to Prime to Sara’s Way to Windsor Trail and back to New Road. New Road becomes Weed Road as we pedaled into the parking area. At a high of 74 degrees, we were treated to a beautiful day for what turned out to be a wonderful ride.

What’s  playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Santana – Evil Ways IMG_0405

 

 

Hill Challenge Update

July’s hill climbing challenge did just what it was designed to do, get you out there pedaling. Ok, we’ll get me out there pedaling. A couple other local riders nailed it as well. Congratulations go out to Bill and Eric. They will drink from their well earned Riding Milford/Action Bikes and Outdoor, ceramic coffee mugs. I will too, although I snatched my mug as soon as they arrived.

 

Just to show how a goal can push you, here are a few stats from the month of July that are attributable to the hill challenge:

Bill, finished the challenge in only 11 days.

The three riders that finished the challenge, logged a total of 1,266 miles and 88,562 feet of elevation.

Pretty good for a few middle aged  men!

Unfortunately, I’m going to suspend the challenge. I do not want anyone getting hurt while climbing up hills and hammering down the other side. We will think up another way to get you outside and on your bike, soon. Until then, ride on!

 

 

Cannondale Test Rides

On Tuesday, I traveled to Mountain Creek Park in Vernon, NJ, with Matt and Alec for the Cycling Sports Group Connection. It’s Cannondale’s debut of their 2018 models along with offerings and tech from Fabric, Sugoi and Sombrio. The event was open to dealers and industry professionals, nationwide.

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Test bikes, lingering in the morning fog

Cannondale really knocked it out of the park with presentations of their new lineup. They introduced the Evo, CAADX, SuperX, Touring, Trail, Trigger, Scalpel, Bad Habit, Cujo, Quick, Quick Neo and Moterra and very cool kids bikes. Emphasis was on the new Synapse and all the tech that went into designing the new crown jewel of their lineup. By design, they did a good job not explaining what the SE in some of their models names’ stands for.

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Fabric showed off all their new tools, pumps, lights and bottles. Their saddles were the main focus of the presentation. Sugoi and Sombrio showed off their new lines as well.

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The Cannondale Touring

Around 11:30am, we were invited into the showroom for a question and answer session in front of the entire lineup. After a terrific lunch, we headed outside for the grand prize! A chance to ride everything Cannondale brought. And oh, they brought just about every new model in a full run of sizes.

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First, we took the ski lift to the top and ripped down the other side of the mountain on the gravel road on 3 extremely smooth Slates. No full review on a bike I rode for only 6 miles, but, wow, you could ride this bike anywhere, over anything! A quick jaunt around town on the Synapse left us feeling good, but we were at Mountain Creek, time to ride some single track.

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Alec grabbed a Bad Habit, Matt took a Trigger and I hopped on a Scalpel. We picked a fairly easy trail and made our way down the mountain. I won’t name anyone here, but there was a crash, not by me as I exercised caution or fear, and burned off a good amount of brake pad. At the bottom, we were alerted that it was time to start bringing the bikes in, so we opted for one more ride up the mountain and dropped down again before retiring to the beer garden.

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As a part time bike shop employee, this is not the type of event I would normally get an invite to. So, I made the most of it and was in no hurry to leave. At 8:30pm, we drove back to Milford, fulfilled. I leave you with a few pics of this awesome event!

 

 

 

 

Geezer Ride

On Sunday, the old men set out at for what ended up being an 80 mile ride. Mike, Steve, Joe, Kevin and myself (maybe, not so old men) left Action Bikes and Outdoor at 6:25am, amidst the fog and humidity.

We pedaled down Rt 209/6, hung a left on Mountain Avenue and right at the river, crossed the Port Jervis Bridge and rode through the West End neighborhood on our way to Rt. 97. Turning right, we navigated early morning Port Jervis. A left hand turn on Rt. 6 put us on the first of many climbs for the day.

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Rt. 6, from Port Jervis to Greenville is a 3.5 mile climb that gently rolls uphill for about 3 miles, then gets steep for the last half mile. Going over the top, we continued on Rt. 6 and hung a right on Rt. 1, heading into Westtown then Pine Island, the famous “Black Dirt region”. The onion aroma was delightful!

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We cruised through to Warwick, NY. Warwick is a very Milford esq type of village, just a little larger.  On the outskirts, we found a gas station to refill supplies.

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We left Warwick and circled through Florida and Goshen before making our way past Soons Orchard and back to Rt. 6 and the rolling hills of Orange County. After fueling up at the Firehouse Deli in Greenville, we climbed up to the top of Rt. 6 (this time, from the back end) and were rewarded with a 3.5 mile descent! No matter how hilly a ride is, that drop always cures my aching legs. We traveled up River Road and crossed over the Milford Bridge for a quiet cool down through Milford.

By the way, the climb up Rt. 6 was the 7th hill this month for me in the climbing challenge. Just Guymard Turnpike, High Point and Sunrise Mountain to go. I’m told one rider finished all 10 hills in 11 days. Congrats, Bill!

Sunrise

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Monkees – Listen to the Band

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First Climb

One down, nine to go. The climbing challenge has begun! On Monday, Eric, Steve, Mike and myself, set out from Action Bikes and Outdoor at 8am to tackle any one of the 10 climbs. With High Point closed, due to New Jersey’s budget impasse that closed more than 50 state parks, historic sites and recreational areas, we settled on Greenville Turnpike.

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We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. At 64 degrees, the humidity was low as we pedaled out of the shop and headed for the Milford Bridge. Crossing the bridge, we climbed Deckertown Turnpike and hung a left on Clove Road for a roller coaster type ride all the way to Montague. A short descent on Rt. 23 and a right onto Greenville Turnpike had us out of the saddle and climbing for 2.5 miles. The graph below shows just how steep that hill can get.

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A left on Mountain Road for a scenic drop down to Rt. 6. The climb to the top of Rt. 6, although steep, is only a half mile and the next 3.5 miles are all downhill. The descent is fast and drops you right back to Rt. 23. A right hand turn puts you into Port Jervis with a lot of traffic for a short ride over to River Road.

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River Road connects back to the Milford Bridge through a few quiet neighborhoods and rolling farmland. An easy stroll over the bridge and back into Milford. I won’t bore you with stories on all 10 climbs, just wanted to let you know that the challenge is on!

 

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Foreigner – Cold as Ice

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The High Knob and Back

Another ride through the Delaware State Forest. It never gets old. It has a large network of gravel roads that throw everything at you from pea gravel to 4″ rip rap and everything in between.

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The weatherman got it right on Sunday. 70 degrees and sunny with no wind. An absolutely beautiful day. As you probably surmised, we took advantage of it by planning and executing an adventure that took us from Lord’s Valley to the High Knob.

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We met at the Rt 739 parking area at 6:30am, Joe, Alex, Jason, Jess, Mike, Eric, Anthony and yours truly. The initial push up Five Mile Meadow Road started with a 1.5 mile climb and took us all the way out to Silver Lake Road and up a steep hill, before turning into Little Mud Pond Rd. We came back out onto Silver Lake and onto Flat Ridge Road. At the end of Flat Ridge, we said goodbye to Joe and Alex as they turned back and headed for home to attend to a day at the pool with family.

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We pedaled up to Minisink Lake and ducked into the Burnt Mills Trail for a short stretch to the Burnt Mills parking lot. Coming out of the parking lot and out on Rt 402, we turned left on Pine Flats Road. We cruised down to the Bridge at the Beaver Run Hunt and Fish Club for a photo op, refueled and pedaled up to the fork where Hay Road leads to Highline Road and turns into Hobaday Road. For 8 miles, you climb from the fork to the High Knob.

We regrouped at the base and began our assault on the hill. The climb is about 2 miles of loose gravel and winds around the core of the hill, getting steeper towards the top. The High Knob if a good halfway point for any ride and a nice place for lunch. Most reached into their jersey pocket for a sandwich. Eric pulled out a BBQ chicken leg. Yes, you read that right. It seems that Eric enjoys good food, no matter what. I really wish I would have gotten a photo of that fine gourmet atop Pike County’s highest peak.

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Jess enjoys her victory at the peak

The descent was fast and fun. That continued as most of the way back on the Hobaday, Highline, Hay Road link is downhill. After retracing Pine Flats Road, we turned right on Rt. 402 and a left onto Bushkill Falls Road and rode back to Flat Ridge. We dropped back onto Silver Lake Road and hung a right onto Standing Stone Trail. We ripped through the deer management area and back out on Five Mile Meadow Road. After a few more short hills and nice descent to the parking area, we were loading our bikes on our cars by just a few minutes after noon. Here’s a few more pics of this awesome ride:

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Billy Joel – Modern Woman

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Tri State Cup of Joe

What better way to get people riding more, than a climbing challenge! Now that summer is right around the corner, ridingmilford.com along with Action Bikes & Outdoor are challenging you to get outside and ride your bike skyward to the top of some of the area’s most iconic climbs. Complete the challenge and get this ultra cool coffee mug:

Here’s how the challenge will work. Go to http://www.strava.com/clubs/ridingmilfordclimbingchallenge, join and ride to the top of the following hills:

High Point (to monument) (NJ)

Point Peter (NY)

Cummins Hill (PA)

Sunrise Mountain (NJ)

Skyline Drive (off Old Milford Rd) (PA)

Rt. 6 (Port Jervis to Greenville) (NY)

Foster Hill (7th St. to Malibu Dude Ranch) (PA)

Guymard Turnpike (NY)

Greenville Turnpike (NY)

Rt. 6 (Milford to Frenchtown Rd.) (PA)

Complete all climbs in any one calendar month.

Each ride must consist of at least 25 miles.

You may do as many climbs in one day as you like by adding 10 miles for each climb (1 climb  = 25 miles, 2 climbs = 35 miles, 3 climbs = 45 miles etc…).

Do all 10 climbs in one Ride of at least 100 miles and qualify.

Remember, if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.

We will run this challenge July through December, 2017.

Now get out and ride!!🚴🚴‍♀️

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passion for Pedaling

Everything is green, rivers and creeks are flowing and flowers are blooming. When pedaling in the late spring or early summer, everything seems right in the world.

I keep a bike in the car, on the off chance that I’ll get that unexpected ride in. Yesterday presented me with just that opportunity. Eric inquired about the possibility of a 5pm road ride from Dingmans Falls. Finally being able to get out of work on time, I jumped at it. We met up at the parking lot at the top of Johnny Bee Road at the base of the falls.

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The weather was perfect, 79 degrees with a slight breeze. We rode out and over the Dingman Bridge. Over the Old Mine Road/Peter’s Valley climb, Eric decided a no hands descent was in order. We pedaled through the Walpack area and into the Walpack loop. Spinning around, we jetted back through Peter’s Valley Craft Center, and headed over to Layton for an alternate climb and a speedy descent back to the Dingman Bridge. When we got back to the parking lot, we decided to ride the wooden path and Check out both sets of falls. Here’s some pics of these incredible, natural works of art:

Milford to Shawnee: The McDade Experience

Well, it finally happened. I wrote about an upcoming ride and it went off without a hitch! The Weather forecast was bleak at best. Rain and cold all day. Everyone showed up enthusiastic and ready for the rain. But, as luck would have it, we were spared for most of the day, save for a little drizzle the last 12 miles.

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We departed Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of Milford at 8:30am, pedaled down to The Delaware River and hoped on the McDade Trail. The first 5 miles clicked by rather quickly. At Raymondskill Road, we opted to ride on Rt. 209 and veered in and out of both sections of Zimmerman Farm. We re-entered the McDade Trail at Dingman’s Falls and stayed on gravel for the next 23 miles. 6 or 7 miles in, Jess got her first flat of the day. The tube change made for a needed rest.

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We continued on towards Bushkill, when just before the boat launch, Eric had a nice liquid surprise waiting for us. After a few minutes, we pushed off (Jess caught her second flat here) and hit the Bushkill hills. Just past the boat launch, the trail becomes narrow and hilly. Not hike a bike stuff, but enough to get your attention.

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It started to rain a little and got cool fast. We picked up the pace a bit in an attempt to out run the rain. It never came down that hard. Hitting the parking area at Hialeah Trailhead, we jumped on River Road and made our way to the Gem and Keystone Brew Pub for a delicious lunch.

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The McDade Trail winds through nature, in the form of corn fields, the Delaware River, pine forests and thick brush, all within a few hundred feet of Rt. 209. We were lucky that the heavy rain held out until after the ride. When we arrived, we were greeted by our families, had a few beers, laughed and enjoyed the rest of the day.

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Steve, TC, Joe, Jason, Eric, Rob, Jess, Mike, Kyle and Bill at the finish

Some pics of the day:

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic

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McDade Trail Adventure Ride

On Sunday, June 4th, a group will be leaving Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford and ride to Milford Beach, where we will enter the McDade Trail and pedal 30-35 miles south to the Hialeah trailhead. We will come off the trail briefly to cover both sections of Zimmerman Farm.

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Depending on the weather, it should be a fun ride at an intermediate pace. Adventure bikes (cyclocross, gravel, etc…) and mountain bikes are ideal for this type of surface.

We are meeting at the shop at 7:30am for an 8am rollout. The plan is to reach the end of the trail by noon and have lunch at one of the 2 Brew Pubs in the Shawnee area. You can either have a ride pick you up and/or have lunch with the group or take the Pocono Pony bus back to the shop. The Pocono Pony is a bus service that has a line that runs on the weekends along the Delaware River. A one way fare is $1.50. This includes transportation for you and your bike. Each bus has bike and boat racks, making it a convenient method of transportation to and from all your Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area adventures. You can check the schedule at http://www.mcta.com, click route and select the DEWA Park route.

You’ll need funds for lunch, extra tube, helmet and a lot of enthusiasm. Hope to see you there.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Elvis Costello – Watching the Detectives

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Back in the Saddle Again

It’s been a while since my last post. This was supposed to be about my experience at the Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo gravel race. Unfortunately, life got in the way. I’ve done a couple of rides the past few weeks, however, nothing of any length or significance.

On Tuesday evening, I was just looking to clear my head, so I pedaled out of Action Bikes and Outdoor and headed out to Milford Beach, via the gravel section, below 3rd street, along the river. Once at the beach, I jumped onto the McDade Trail. The first 3-4 miles on the trail are so serene and peaceful. Easy rolling, gravel terrain tucked away in the woods with the Delaware River gracefully flowing along to the left.IMG_5148

I rode past Raymondskill Road and through the single track, to the steps (where the bridge washed out). I shouldered my bike and hiked up to Rt. 209. A half mile on 209 and into the first section of Zimmerman Farm. After cresting the hill, you stay left at the fork, avoiding the Conashaugh horse trails. Another mile and back on Rt. 209 for a 1/4 mile and back into Zimmerman Farm. This section climbs a bit and drops sharply down to the farm. Riding by the dilapidated structures and past Marie Zimmerman’s home, I sped down the dirt road that leads back to the pave.  I took Rt. 209 to Dingmans Ferry and hopped back on the McDade Trail to The Dingmans Campground General Store.IMG_5149

I used the General Store as my turn around and took the McDade Trail back to Dingmans Falls and onto Rt. 209 (out and backs are soooo boring). Jumping back on the McDade Trail to Milford Beach, I past a few couples riding along slowly taking in all that this beautiful stretch of land has to offer.

Back at the shop, just before dark, I realized that I am lucky to be able to get on the bike and pedal, whenever time allows.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Eddie Rabbitt – I Love a Rainy Night

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Lu Lack Wyco Hundo Prep

On Sunday, I’ll be saddling up for my first long gravel ride in 2017. The Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo is an all road (gravel, dirt and pave) adventure in Northeastern PA. They offer 50, 75 and 100 mile routes. I’m all in for the 100.

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Image taken from llwh website

Registration opened on January 1st at 12:01am and filled up in a few hours for this 5th annual ride. While others were waiting for the ball to drop, I was patiently waiting at my laptop for the clock to strike midnight, to see if I’d get in.

Honestly, I knew that it would be tough to get in enough miles this time of year to properly train for what’s billed as a grueling ride. What I did not realize was that my longest ride would be 45 miles a couple of weeks before. I’m trying to make up for lost training with good nutrition. I’m a vegetarian who also enjoys some baked goods. I’ve been eating as clean as possible the last few weeks and adding some stretching and yoga and trying to get in some extra sleep.

I hope to have lots of cool photos and a great story for the blog…..

See you next week!

 

 

Delaware State Forest Gravel Grinding

On Sunday, we were treated to a beautiful spring day. High 60’s and sunny. After a monumental thaw, followed by 3 days of torrential rains, spring is finally here and it couldn’t be better.

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Wanting to get a longer ride in with a couple of weeks to go before the Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo gravel ride, I met up with Mike at the Rt. 739 parking area and headed up Five Mile Meadow Road. The roadway was filled with potholes, but dry for most of the way (the state normally lays a fresh layer of gravel across the road in late September). We turned right on Silver Lake Road, climbed the chopped up asphalt and slipped into Little Mud Pond Road, where we picked up Eric, to join us in this gravel adventure.

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We came back on Silver Lake a little and hung a right on Flat Ridge Road, which provided a little respite. We were heading into the deep woods soon after. A left on Bushkill Falls Road and a right on Minisink Road, put us into the Minisink Lake Community, at the fork, the pave turns back to gravel and then to double trail jeep trail. Whittaker Trail was muddy and soft. For about a mile and a half, we worked our way through the woods until the trail came back onto gravel and the road was now fittingly called Whittaker Road. About a mile in and Eric’s rear tire went down. Being set up tubeless, he had to remove the valve and pop a tube in. We learned a valuable lesson: a 23mm road tube will not make due in a 36mm cross tire. Luckily, we had a cross tube, inserted it and off we went.

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Eric trying to blow his tire up manually!

Whittaker Road comes out to Rt. 402. We turned right and pedaled up to Silver Lake Road. At this point, Eric and Mike rode back to their cars (Eric’s at Little Mud Pond Road and Mike’s at the end of Five Mile Meadow Road). I made my way up to the Maple Run parking area to meet up with Matt for some extended saddle time. We headed north to the High Knob Road and turned into Hobbaday Road and down to High Line Road. This is basically 7 miles of pure down hill gravel except for a few little bumps along the way. We hung a sharp left on Pine Flats Road and rode out to Rt. 402 and onto Silver Lake Road.

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After a few miles, we were back on gravel on Standing Stone Trail. A few easy miles to Five Mile Meadow Road and we floated back down to Rt. 739. I was pretty tired and glad to be back at my car. Matt still had to pedal up Rt. 739 to Blooming Grove Road and back onto Rt. 402 for about 15 more miles to his car. Anyway you slice it, it was a beautiful day of riding! Hopefully the big event will be just as nice.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Terence Trent D’arby – Wishing Well

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Getting Outside

Ah, the rains! Between the melting snow and all the rain, it’s shaping up to be an incredible spring season. Usually, when we have this much moisture in the early spring, it leads to green moss on the ground, beautiful trees and pristine lakes, void of silt. While nature takes it’s course, it may be a good time to cultivate your adventures for 2017.

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I think that everyone who rides a bike, kayaks, hikes or does anything outdoors, would love to be able to spend more time in nature. Most people have families and careers.  And while family time is not a chore, work can get overwhelming at times, making even the shortest activities seem like paradise. Getting out weekly is a must, but it really helps to plan your longer outings. When your stuck working on Saturday or putting in an extra 20 hours for the week, looking forward to an epic hike, refreshing paddle down your favorite river or a bike ride that goes so late, you need to turn your head light on, can help to ward off the stresses of the modern weekend adventurer.

You can simply plan local getaways or events that take you out of your backyard. I’m scheduling the following events with many local rides, hikes, paddles and camping trips mixed in:

  • April 23rd – Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo 100 mile gravel ride in Northeastern PA
  • Late June 200 mile/ 2 day ride from Port Jervis, NY to Cape May, NJ
  • July 22nd – VBC Century Road ride in Plattsburgh, NY
  • Late September – Maple City Century 100 mile Gravel Ride in Honesdale, PA
  • Late October – Erie 80 MTB Race in Port Jervis, NY

Planning can take many paths, just don’t let it add additional stress. No need to create a spread sheet here, just lay out what you think you’ll need and as you get closer, shed some weight by getting rid of all but the absolute necessities. Having the right gear can help ease your mind. If you are doing a multi day hike on the Appalachian Trail, make sure you have enough water, food, cooking equipment, good boots and dry clothes. Don’t let the weather keep you inside. On a long bike ride, tubes, a tire and snacks could be all you really need.

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Another thought, keep your gear well maintained. Something as simple as bringing your bike in for a spring tune up will keep you riding all year long and provide for a hassle free adventure. If you do not know, ask. Your local bike shop or outdoor store is your best resource for information on maintenance, gear and routes.

The Great Thaw?

For someone that lives to ride the trails and back roads, snow can be a real problem. You might have noticed from some of my more recent posts, that I have been riding my gravel bikes on the pave. There are two reasons for this. First, I wanted to hit some longer hills and by this time of year, I’m usually able to get out on the road bike enough to satisfy the urge to climb. Second, I’d rather ride a heavier bike that’s used to getting covered in all sorts of debris and muck.

That said, last week, we got hit with 25-30 inches of snow. With the wind drifts and plow trucks piling it up, visibility around turns has been pretty minimal. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the temperatures were forecast to hit above 45 degrees. I made it my business to ride at least twice before Wednesday’s cold snap comes in.

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On Sunday, I left Action Bikes and Outdoor and decided to climb Foster Hill to the dude ranch, descended and climbed up Skyline Drive around the cell tower and back down. You feel every fiber of muscle working, pulling up a beefy steel bike with 29X2.1 knobby tires. It’s just the opposite on the descent. The weight of a well made steel bike, grounds you and gives you a ton of confidence while barreling down from one of the highest points of elevation in the area.

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On Tuesday, I did another road ride on the Van Dessel WTF, but this time, from Dingmans Falls. I left the parking area and headed directly uphill on Rt. 739, a road that goes skyward immediately. After 4 miles, you gain more than 800 feet of elevation. That hill would probably get included in a lot of rides, be it not for the lack of shoulder.

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A right on Milford Road, sends you on a roller coaster ride for a few miles, before dropping quickly into Milford. After navigating the only traffic light in town, Rt. 209 winds its way along the Delaware River, all the way back to Dingmans Falls. You know, the snow can be quite beautiful when the sun shines, even if you only have a slight path to ride.

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What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Ozark Mountain Daredevils – Jackie Blue.

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Kona Rove – Steel

If you read my review of the Kona Rove TI, you might be wondering why I’m now reviewing the steel version of Kona’s do all platform.

Let me start by saying that I love the Rove TI. However, Most of my bikes are 59cm and I ordered the frame in a 59 without checking the length of the seat tube or the stand over. As much as I enjoyed the plush ride, it was simply too big for me. So, I parted ways with my beloved steed and ordered the steel Rove in a 57cm.

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After about 550 miles through all kinds of weather and road conditions, I have to say that the steel Rove is everything you’d want in a gravel/monstercross/all road bike. At $1,499.99, you would think it comes poorly spec’d, when in fact, the Rove sports a very nice package. First, the frame is Kona’s cromoly butted steel, paired with a Kona Project Two cromoly disc fork. SRAM Rival shifters and derailers, a SRAM 11-42 cassette with a SRAM S350 40t crankset, TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes and Clemente Xplore 700X36 tubeless tires laced to an Alex Al disc wheelset.  An FSA headset, Kona seat post, seatpost clamp, 15 degree flared handlebar and stem as well as a WTB Volt saddle round it all out.

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After about 100 miles, I made the decision to make the Rove my go to gravel bike, for epic long distance events. I switched out the wheelset to Bontrager’s Affinity Elite tubeless. I wanted to go a little wider with my hands in the drops, so the Salsa Woodchipper handlebar just made sense. I lightened up the cockpit a bit with a Chris King headset, Thomson seat post and stem. Although the cassette and crankset are perfectly capable, I switched out the cassette for a 10X42 and the crankset to a Rival 42t, just to allow for a little more top end speed.

After a 100 mile gravel ride and many long, steep climbs, I’m extremely happy with my choice. The steel Rove is snappy enough for any gravel race, long epic adventure or daily commute and climbs as well as it’s TI counterpart.

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Kona leaves nothing to chance. With 3 water bottle mounts, full fender and rack mounts, the Rove is as versatile as a do all bike could be. Also, the olive color is beautiful and adds a bit of class.

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Cummins Hill- Front Side

Another last-minute ride before a storm system comes in. Hopefully, the last one of the season. If not, We’ll just have to ride it out until sunnier sky’s prevail.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided to climb Cummins Hill from the front side with a little trail diversion before descending to Mill Rift. Now, normally, I would ride into Matamoras and take Delaware Drive all the way up from the river and down to Mill Rift before climbing Bluestone Blvd and over Cummins Hill.

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Starting from Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of Milford, I simply went the opposite way. The front side is far more difficult. The first climb took around 27 minutes. It can be pretty steep in sections. I took a small diversion on Lost Camp Trail. After a mile, I turned around, not wanting to get caught out in the woods again.You realize how far you climbed when you hit the downhill spin into Mill Rift. You roll through the quiet little river town, across the railroad tracks and begin to ascend. Delaware Drive is not quite as long as Cummins Hill, but every bit as steep.

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I reached the top and dropped quickly to the Delaware River. There are some really nice views of the river from the top of both climbs. I cut across Mountain Avenue, to avoid Matamoras and pedaled down Rt. 209 and back to the shop. Next week, I’ll review the Kona Rove Steel version.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Peter Schilling – Major Tom (Coming Home)’94 R-556198-1338494496-8396.jpeg

 

 

Lost in the Woods?

On Tuesday night, I left work about 4pm and decided on my way home to turn around and head for Dingman’s Falls. I had my bike and gear in the car, just in case. The sky was overcast and gloomy, I knew I had this chance to get a ride in before Mother Nature poured down on us for a few days (according to the weather forecast).

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By 4:30, I rolled out onto Rt. 209, made a right on Rt. 739 and glided over the wood planks of the Dingmans Ferry Bridge. A right on Old Mine Road and I immediately started climbing. At the top, I hung a right onto the gravel section of Old Mine Road. For six miles, along the river and through the fields, the grade was primarily downhill and flat. Except for a few washed out sections, the surface was in pretty good shape.

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At the end, I turned left on Pompey Road and climbed out of the Walpack Loop. I saw a trail I’ve been wanting to explore. I thought it came out in front of the Walpack Inn. It probably did, but I took a wrong turn in the woods. I tried to find my way out, but it seemed the trail just kept dropping down. I checked the map on my phone and found my direction. By this time, it was almost dark. The map showed what looked like a road a few miles away. I turned my headlight on and bounced down the trail, hoping I wouldn’t have to sleep under the stars, without camping gear or a jacket.

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Out in the distance, I saw a light, it sailed by pretty quick. Thankfully, it was a car. Another half mile and I finally found the road. I turned on navigation (what would I do without a smart phone) and pedaled back to Old Mine Road. On the ride back to my car, I was happy I didn’t panic and just kept moving forward. I was happier that I turned around and was even luckier still to have this brief adventure!

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The J Geils Band – Centerfold

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Spring in Winter

This last week has been pretty amazing, with temperatures ranging from the 50’s to 73 degrees today! Just when it seemed like the ice and snow wouldn’t stop, we are treated to 7 glorious days in February!

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I know the cold weather will eventually come back, but this little teaser is just the thing that could help shake out those cobwebs and get you ready for a year full of adventures!

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Do something nice for someone, when no one else is looking.

 

Winter Legs, Hawks Nest and Windervals

I guess Punxsutawney Phil was wrong. A couple weeks ago, the world’s most famous rodent saw his shadow, indicating 6 more weeks of winter. This weekend and the weather for the next 10 days indicate otherwise. With temperatures reaching the 60’s the last two days, I had to fit in a couple rides. Saturday was an off road, gravel and slush adventure. For Sunday, Eric and I planned a road ride on gravel bikes with knobby tires, to compensate for all the dirt and gravel on the roadway as well as the melting ice and snow.

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Port Jervis Bridge

 

We pedaled out of Action Bikes and Outdoor, towards Matamoras on Rt. 209/6. Once through Westfall Township, we turned left on Mountain Avenue to Delaware Drive and over the Port Jervis Bridge. Turning left into the West End neighborhood, we rode along the river and up to Rt. 97. We turned right and rode up to Skyline Drive. As we attempted to climb up to Point Peter, we were stopped about 3/4 of the way up by a gate that was blocking the unplowed, snow filled road.

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Looking to get some more climbing in, we adjusted our route and descended back to Rt. 97 and headed up to the Hawks Nest. You can’t beat the view from any of the roadside pull offs. However, there was a bit more traffic than expected and a lot more motorcycles than cars. The motor bikes were riding up and over the hills and turning around and doing it all over again, while their buddies took video of them popping wheelies.

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Not sure this is the smartest thing on a road with so many blind corners and hills. We rode over and down to the other side. After another mile or so, we pedaled up a Shortell Road (a hard packed dirt surface) for half a mile until we were again turned around by a pile of snow this time, blocking off the unplowed road.

We decided to ride back over the Hawks Nest, also known as the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway. We stopped at the very . . top for a Clif bar and a photo op. To escape the Evil Knievels of the world, we sped down Rt. 97 and back into the West End neighborhood. The ride on Mountain Avenue and back up Rt. 209/6 were met with a horrendous head wind. Gusts were almost blowing us backward.

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If this were simply a spring teaser, I’ll take it. But, if this is a sign of things to come, I’ll take it and run or pedal. Either way, I’ll welcome it!

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

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Appalachian Trail Adventure

Winter has hit the northeast. On Thursday, Mother Nature dropped nearly a foot of snow on us. Easily the largest snowfall in the area this winter. A bikepacking trip was planned for this past weekend, but with back roads and trails too deeply covered, TC shifted his focus to an overnight backpacking adventure. With Will and myself enlisted, TC mapped out the trip and made sure we would be rewarded at the end of the day’s hike.

This was to be my first multi day hike and it showed. I started out the day by driving off from home with my hat and gloves on the roof of the car. They ended up on my driveway. Apparently it seems I dramatically over packed. Well, I over dressed as well, but shed some clothes and added them to my bulging backpack.

We departed on Saturday morning from Fairview Lake near Stillwater, NJ and snowshoed up a long hill on the Appalachian Trail. The higher we got, the deeper the snow. When we arrived on top, we were rewarded with a walk along the ridge and treated to astonishing views.

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We climbed and descended for the better part of 5 1/2 hours. About three-quarters of the way through the eight mile hike, we shed the snowshoes. As we got closer to the cabin, we passed some day hikers, that really packed the snow down enabling us to pick up the pace.

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Saturday Lunch Break

The last half mile was a downhill hike that took us over countless rocks and snow drifts. We landed on Camp Road and walked about 1000 feet to the Mohican Outdoor Center, our home away from home for the night. Now, we knew we were staying in a cabin. What we did not know was that the Mohican staff were preparing a meal for another group and invited us over to the dining hall for a gourmet feast.img_0220

Stomachs full, we retired to our cabin. We were going to need a good nights sleep as the weather forecast for Sunday was a mix of snow, sleet and rain.

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We woke about 6:30am, to pellets of ice hitting the cabin. A good breakfast and a pot of coffee and we were fully recharged and ready to take on the weather. With covers over our packs and rain gear on, we headed out the door and onto the trail at 9:30am. Again, the day started out with a climb. We opted to forgo  the snowshoes and make up as much time as possible to get through the storm. img_0211

Getting up the hill was not a problem. We climbed rather quickly. When we reached the higher elevations, the snow came down heavy and the wind was blowing extremely hard, making it difficult to see. Pushing through 18-20 inches of snow slowed us down considerably. I started to fall behind. My shoulders and hips were sore. As I plodded forward, I was lucky that TC and Will kept and eye out for trail markers. We reached Sunfish Pond and took a short rest about halfway through the 9 mile day.

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Will’s pack was covered in ice

We moved on and navigated the rocky terrain around the lake. After another climb, we descended a few miles down a rather well packed trail, along a beautiful creek, all the way to the parking area along RT. 80.

Although the terrain was a little rough, due to the snow and ice, I’m interested to see how it will be during the spring or summer. I’m sure I will find out, as this may have been my first overnight backpacking adventure, but it certainly will not be my last.

The Climb Before the Storm

What a beautiful day. 51 degrees in February. With the impending snow storm on the horizon, today was one of those days that if you have a window, you had to go out and ride. I wanted to change things up a bit, so I took the Van Dessel WTF on a stroll over Cummins Hill. A 28 pound bike with 29X 2.1 inch tires should provide quite a challenge on  the same hills that I normally climb on my sub 17 pound road bike.

I left Action Bikes and Outdoor and pedaled down Rt. 209/6 towards Matamoras. Once I navigated the school traffic and lights, I veered left onto Mountain Avenue and cut across to Delaware Drive for a windy stint along the river.

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A brief stop to take a photo of a garage that was painted to look like a farm scene, then back down Delaware Drive, cautiously to prepare for the climb.  The first set of hills take you off the river and away from the commercial river companies’ launch sites. The initial climb, although not very long, gives the rider a little insight of what’s about to come. The roadway twists, turns and goes skyward for about 3.5 miles. Once you summit this section, you drop down pretty quickly. Be sure to feather the brakes and glance to the right, as you do not want to miss the incredible views of the Delaware River from about mid way down the hill.

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At the bottom, you cross the train tracks and arrive in the tiny town of Mill Rift, PA. This little berg has so many cool nooks and crannies. Check out the frozen water wheel and covered bridge that are among the amazing things to see.

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After site seeing in Mill Rift, the longer section of hills comes up on you without notice. Incline after leg burning incline, the road seems to never stop going upward. Every time you think you’ve crested the top of a hill, you look up to see the road go higher. When you finally reach the top, you really have to be careful, as the descent is steep and dangerous. This is one paved road that requires your full attention. Although the road is lightly travelled, cars and pickup trucks can come up on you in a hurry.

At the bottom, a right hand turn puts you back on Rt. 209/6 and the cool down into Milford is just what the doctor ordered!

This is a difficult route that should be done on a road bike. Helmets should always be worn, especially when you plan on descending a hill like this.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket

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Little Bit of Everything

I had a window on Saturday. I got out from Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of Milford at 3pm. It was chilly, but the sun was out and I’ll take 35 degrees in February anytime. Not knowing what to expect, I took the Van Dessel WTF, just in case the roads and trails had snow.

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I winded my way through Milford and dropped down Metz Road past the Metz Icehouse and into Milford Beach where I jumped on the Mcdade Trail. I was surprised how dry the surface was. Very little snow. img_0188

I pedaled past Raymondskill Road onto the single track to where the trail drops down the wooden steps. A quick hike up the side of the hill put me over the guardrail and on Rt. 209. From there, I jumped onto Zimmerman Road, rode up and around the old horse trails and back out on 209. Another 1/4 mile and I was back on Zimmerman and climbing up to the Zimmerman Farm (I detailed Marie Zimmerman’s farm and home in a couple of previous posts)

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Zimmerman Farm

After a quick photo op, I pedaled through the farm, past the house and down the trail and back out to Rt. 209. Crossing over Rt. 739, I shot down the McDade extension, over the wooden bridge and back around to 209 for a few miles before jumping back on the Mcdade Trail. As I got back to Milford Beach, the sun just started to set over the Delaware River.

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Sunset over the Delaware River

img_0191Although I long for warmer days, I’ll take 35 in February anytime!!

What’s Playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show – The Cover of the Rolling Stoneimg_0187

Cold Nights

All this ice is enough to screw up a few good gravel roads. Well that’s a little extreme. But, seriously, I wish it would just snow already. A foot of snow would be a whole lot better than an inch of ice.img_0178

With winter more than a third over, it was time to get out at night again and navigate through whatever Mother Nature decided to leave on the ground this week. I met up with Eric at 5:30pm at the parking area on Rt. 739 at the foot of Five Mile Meadow Road for a cold gravel ride. Well, maybe not a gravel ride, more like an ice ride.

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Not all rides are epic and although we got out and pedaled for a while, this was a ride that could have waited for a much warmer day. You see, slush and mud may be dirtier, but it’s sure a lot safer to ride through.img_0179

Anyway, we climbed up the first section of road for about a mile and a half, using the truck tire tracks that rip through the snow and ice. Another mile and a half and the tire tracks just about disappeared. It started snowing and we decided to turn back. The last thing we wanted was the snow to cover what little roadway was not already covered in ice. The ride back got me thinking that an investment in studded tires might be a good idea!

A Little Warmth, A Lot of Mud

Mixed in with the snow, rain and ice, we were treated to a 40 degree day today. In fact, the forecasts are calling for warmer weather for the next 3 days. To take advantage, I stuffed my bike(Van Dessel WTF) in the car this morning, charged up my headlight and prepared for an after work ride through the trails off Old Mine Road, just over the River on the New Jersey side.

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I parked at Dingmans Falls and rode across the Dingman Bridge, making a left on Old Mine Road. About a mile and a half later, I turned right on Van Ness Road. Van Ness is a paved road that has seen better days. There are no pot holes, really, just chunks of roadway are missing. It winds nicely through the woods, with a short but steep climb up to Upper Ridge Road. Turning left, you immediately see what appears to be a wall or the side of a mountain. As you approach, the gradient seems less steep and the climb, although not easy on the loose surface, was not as daunting as it first appeared. img_0173

The road was covered in leaves, making it difficult to see the rocks and roots. The mud was unavoidable! Every few feet, soft, loose terrain gave way to puddles and mud. Halfway through, the road turns to trail and goes upward, leaving me wondering why I wasn’t on a mountain bike.  It’s all good though. A wet, muddy, cold ride is still better than a day spent inside.

Coming out onto Jager Road, I hung a left and descended down to Old Mine Road. On the way back, I tried going down Mettler Road and turned right on Van Auken Road. Both were covered in ice. I pedaled about a mile and turned back as ice was still on the  gravel surface.

Maybe today was just a little taste of things to come. Who knows, a longer road ride might be in the near future.

No music today. Just the sound of the temporary thaw as streams and creeks roared like rivers and everything melted in the road.

 

Van Dessel WTF: Reviewed

With the cold weather, snow and ice hitting us a little harder this winter, I have not been able to get outside as often as last year. This gives me some time to create a little content for the blog. When I read other blogs, and I read a lot of them, I pay attention to product reviews. The bike industry continues to evolve, with new equipment and apparel debuting more often than most industries. It can be hard to keep up with. Reviews provide insight from end users to industry professionals, helping consumers make smart choices.

One of the bikes I rode in 2016 was the Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The WTF is an all road, adventure or gravel bike. According to Van Dessel’s website, “With 4130 Cro-Moly at it’s heart the WTF you can build it up with drop bars or straight, a chain drive or belt drive, skinny tires or 2.1’s Really it’s open to suggestions. After all, it handles gravel roads, paved roads, single track, mountain trails, commuting, loaded touring, winter training, monster cross — pretty much anything you might want to do on a bike, it’s perfectly qualified for”. The bike is available as a frame/fork/headset/seat collar for $699 from Van Dessel Cycles, a small builder with a great reputation, located in Mendham, N.J.cropped-img_22111.jpgThe frame and fork are disc brake only. I purchased my frame in 2015, so I have quick release dropouts. For 2017, the WTF comes with new modular dropouts, meaning it will take quick release or through axle. The bottom bracket she’ll accepts Pressfit 30 BB’s and cranksets. The frame is also belt drive compatible. Tire clearance is phenomenal! I run 700c X 40mm tires during the spring, summer and fall. For the winter, I run 29 X 2.1″ tires. Fender and rack eyelets round out the package. Oh, and you have to see the double top tube!

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I built my frame up with a SRAM 11 speed groupset. I wanted enough gearing to get me and a fully loaded bike up dirt and gravel hills, so a 54/30 crankset and an 11-32 cassette paired with Rival derailers and shifters do the trick nicely. I went with Avid BB7 road disc brakes, 160mm rotors. I won’t mention tires, (that’s for another review) but the wheelset is Bontrager’s Affinity Comp Disc. The cockpit is a simple alloy seatpost, Thomson stem and a 15 degree flared handlebar for better control in the drops.

The WTF is for me, my go to bike, when conditions are less than stellar. In the rain, snow, mud, dirt and gravel, the WTF has done it all. It climbs exceptionally well for a 26+pound bike. When your riding a bike in this category, you need to throw out the weight and just enjoy the ride quality that a finely crafted steel bike offers. On 2 separate bikepacking trips, I loaded the bike down with frame bag, seatpack, handlebar bag, fork mounted extra large cage and 2 top tube bags. With about 40 extra pounds of gear, and my 180lbs., control was no issue. Overall, a great bike that is fully up to any task.72dpi-700pxl-hyper-limited-edition-pearlized-pinkFor 2017, Van Dessel offers the WTF in orange and pink. Two cool new colors that add a little flavor to an already exciting package.72dpi-700pxl-pearlized-orange-drive-side

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is – The Chicago Transit Authority

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Eric reviews the Endura MT500 Overshoe II

Cozy toes for when the temperature drops and the snow sticks around.

Four season cycling can be a challenge if your bikes and wardrobe are not up to the task. A few years ago, I picked up a Cannondale CAADX, and hung up the road bike for the winter months.  The cyclocross bike now expands my riding opportunities year round and provides a welcome change from the roads, but there’s more to winter riding than knobby tires.  In search of a means to keep my toes warm, I set out for some advice at Action Bikes & Outdoors and spoke with TC.  A few questions later, I had the Endura MT500 Overshoe II in hand, and was hopeful for the right weather to test them out. image002

Now that winter has officially arrived with cold temperatures and snow, I’ve stretched them out a few times along the McDade Recreational Trail, as well as another occasion for a ride on the Sussex/Paulinskill Trails.  Weather conditions on these rides have been 30-35f, windy and upwards of 4 inches of slush, a great mix of conditions for these overshoes.  For those that have gone trail riding on a CX bike know, there is usually a need to stop and hike-a-bike at least once, so I’ve given these some performance opportunities.

The neoprene bootie remained waterproof and warm after multiple dismounts in the inches deep slush, with snow-caked feet, after miles of riding through snow at temperatures in the low 30’s.  img_4561

The toes are made with a molded rugged rubber material that provides a stable and grippy surface to walk over gravel, and through slush and down grassy slopes.  I’ve never owned a pair of overshoes, so getting them both on and off is a humorous exercise, as the fit is meant to be snug, which helps keep your shoes dry.  Finishing touches on the MT500 besides the well thought out toe box construction include heavy stitching all around, reflective logo, rear zipper panel accents, reinforced heel panel, and plastic coated zipper pull, which is easy to use with gloves on.  img_0169   For extended rides in temperatures lower than 35f, I prefer to also use adhesive toe warmers inside my shoes, but others might find that unnecessary.  All in all, if I had to rate these, I’d give them a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Walks, Rides and Other Stuff

January 1st:

At 7am, my little girl decided that her morning walk was going to be on the trail instead of the road. I would like to think she wanted to be in nature to start the new year, but it turns out that she just wanted to follow the deer tracks. She’s the only dog I’ve seen that chases a deer into the woods and comes running back out with the deer chasing her.img_4558

Eric and I managed to get in a ride on the Mcdade Trail. With the weather expected to be below 30 degrees, we layered up and pushed off at 10am from Dingmans Falls through the mostly untouched snow, towards Buskill. I figured the cross country skiers would have packed it down by now, but we were lucky enough to have the fresh snow for traction. Honestly, we would have been better off on mountain bikes, but hey, that would have been too easy.

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The Mighty Delaware remains unfrozen!

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Around 11:00 it warmed up to about 35 degrees and the powdery snow started to turn slushy. Thankfully, the Mcdade Trail has very few hills, because Eric’s cantilever brakes were non existent for most of he ride.img_0166

In Bushkill, we found one of the cool log benches that are all over the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, next to a creek that was a perfect spot for a coffee break and it was a good time to shed a couple of layers as well as changing from lobster claw gloves to wool liners.

From there, we turned around and headed back to the parking area where we were surprised to find about 10-15 cars. People asking about the XCountry ski conditions and others hiking up to the falls. A nice ride to kick off the new year!

Coming soon, we will have a few reviews: Eric will review his new Endura Booties and the Bontrager Ion 800 headlight. I’ll review a couple bikes that got me through 2016.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Billy Joel – The Ballad of Billy the Kid

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2016 in Review

What a year it’s been. 2016 gave us a mild winter, a warm spring, a hot and sunny summer and a gorgeous fall foliage season. I was able to get in a lot of rides, on the road bike, the gravel bike and even a few mountain bike rides. I was able to ride over 100 miles twice. I caught a bit of the bike packing bug and did two sub 24 hour overnighters.

I’m not going to detail my yearly mileage, hours on the bike or elevation gained, because that is not what this blog is about. I’m simply going to tell you that I have had a wonderful year of riding with a lot of really cool people here in Milford, Pike County, the Poconos, Port Jervis, Sussex County and the entire area. I took some photos, drank a lot of coffee and settled in to a much more relaxed style of riding.

One thing I learned in 2016 is that most cyclists don’t race. They try to go too fast and miss everything that the world around them has to offer. For the last 20 years or so, that’s been me. I have tried in vain to keep up with faster riders. I now ride a little faster when I want to. But, dropping the speed a few miles an hour to take in the sights and stopping every now and again to have coffee makes a tough ride all the more enjoyable.

My modest goals for 2017:

Ride more!

A solo overnighter in the Delaware State Forest

A multi night group Bike Packing Adventure

2 road rides over 100 miles

2 gravel rides over 100 miles

50 mile mountain bike ride

Be a better father

Be a better husband

My first attempt at a 100 mile gravel ride will be the Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo in Jenkins Township, PA on April 23rd, 2017. It might be a bit of a challenge to train for a ride of that length, so early in the year, but I’m hoping that I’m not alone in this.

so far, it looks like another mild winter, hopefully that means more riding!

Happy New Year!

Crushing Snow

Even though it’s only Mid December, winter is here. It’s so frigid outside, that the entire east coast is experiencing a cold snap. While I was walking the dog in the snow, early Sunday morning, I figured there was no way I was going ride a bike or do much of anything outside. After more than enough coffee, my lovely wife suggested spending the day either hanging Christmas decorations or shopping. Hmm, what to do?

Well, the only way I could brave a day out shopping would be if I could spend a little time out on the bike first. So I layered up, put my mtb shoes, helmet and gloves by the fire for a few minutes and headed out on the Trek Stache.img_0157

The roads were covered in the white stuff, so I snuck through the woods, behind my house and into the Delaware State Forest. Not sure where I was going (but that’s the fun part, isn’t it?), I found a snow mobile trail that would have otherwise been brutal to ride over, but with the snow packed into it, I felt like I was on a pedal assisted sled. Somehow, that trail ended a little over a mile later at a driveway to a hunting cabin. I ventured down and ended up on Five Mile Meadow Road. It’s cool to find trails you never knew existed, and probably rode by more than a few times.img_0161

I jumped into the old Boy Scout camp and found some untouched, endless trails of 6-8 inches of snow. I worked my way past all the dilapidated buildings and dropped down to the lake. Rock Hill Pond, at the foot of the camp, which I believe is now part of the PA State Forest, is completely engulfed in nature. After propping my bike up for a pic, I attempted a sip out of my water bottle. I was only out for about an hour and my bottle was frozen. Lesson learned. Next time, I’ll carry my bottle or wear a hydration pack.img_0154

Pedaling up from the lake and out of the camp was an adventure. When I reached the gravel roads again, I felt as if I were rolling along a smooth section of blacktop. I scurried through the trees and back into my community, satisfied and ready to take on the day and the stores. But first, I would relax a bit and warm up by the fire.img_0156 What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Just the Classics – Santa Claus is Coming to Town (The Jackson 5 version) and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.jackson5-christmasalbum

 

Sussex Branch & Paulinskill Valley Trails

Just across the Delaware River from Milford, sits an old rail bed, formerly used by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Today, it is a multi use trail, used primarily by hikers and cyclists. The Sussex Branch Trail, travels from Branchville to Byrum Township, approximately 20 miles of primarily flat, gravel, dirt, grass and cinder. It crosses lakes, swamps and the Paulinskill River. It intersects with the Paulinskill Valley Trail at Warbasse Junction. The Paulinskill, formerly used by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway, is also gravel, dirt, grass and cinder. It goes upward from Warbasse at a 1-2% grade, making the return trip extremely fast.

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I hooked up with Eric at 7:30am at the Branchville Fire Department parking lot. At about 28 degrees, we were in for a chilly start. As we shoved off, we missed the trail head and pedaled in circles for 3 miles before hopping into the woods. Immediately, I knew we were on a pretty cool piece of real estate. img_0142

The Sussex Branch Trail is 4 feet wide with trees overhanging the six inch rut that serves as the best line to roll through. Wooden bridges cross the wet land that separate the many farms that dominate this beautiful county, tucked away in northern New Jersey. img_0141

We took a coffee and nature break at Warbasse Junction, and stayed on the Sussex for a few more miles. When we turned around, a few cyclists on fat Bikes came motoring by. In fact, we passed more than a few hikers, people walking their dogs and a group of women that were out running their way to warmth. img_0146

When we reached Warbasse Junction again, we hung a left onto the Paulinskill. Although, the Sussex Branch Trail is beautiful, quiet and rustic, it is not as well groomed as the Paulinskill, which is wider with and even surface from left to right. We pedaled up for a few miles, until we reached an area that was saturated from the recent rains, with water overflowing from a pond, right across the trail. This seemed a good place to turn around and head back to Branchville. As I previously stated, the Paulinskill has a slight grade and after the turn around, we really picked up some speed as we made our way back to the Sussex Branch Trail. We followed the trail all the way back into town, realizing where we missed the turn at the start. img_0145

Either of these two trails can be covered on a cyclocross bike, mountain bike or even a hybrid bike. They both travel through a few small towns with ample opportunities to refill fluids and stock up on food supplies. Now go out and ride!

What’s Playing: (What am I’m listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Steve Windwood – When You See a Chance220px-arc_of_a_diver_cover

 

Cold Gravel Morning

It was pretty cold on Sunday morning, tempts in the high 20’s around 9am. I’ve been battling the flu for the better part of a week and was not sure I could deal with the cold air well enough to enjoy some time on the bike. I really wanted to join those who opted outside on Friday, but just couldn’t pull myself out of bed.

I got a text from Anthony in the early morning, asking if I was planning to ride today. Feeling a little better, I decided to take him up on it and venture out. We made a plan to meet and ride through the Delaware State Forest for a little gravel adventure and enjoy the emergency access roads as Sunday is the only day that hunters are not occupying the entire area.img_0135Anthony is a strong rider with a lot of speed, so I though it would be cool to get him out in the woods and try to chase him a little. He is riding a brand new Lynskey Titanium bike that was expertly built up by TC at Action Bikes and Outdoor. The bike is light and looks like a true gravel or monstercross beast. It appeared to roll through the loosest gravel and hard pack dirt with ease.img_0133I won’t bore you with roads traveled. However, I will say that it felt great to get outside. It was cold for sure, but being off the bike , even if it’s just for a week and a half to recover, felt like forever. I know we need some snow this winter, but I’m certainly hoping for at least a few rides a month to keep the juices flowing.img_0132 That being said, if the weather is so terribly horrible, I will run, snowshoe or make snow angels, but I will not ride on the trainer. I haven’t for 2 years now and I’m sure it will survive without me. We’ll try a few more product reviews to keep the blog active and take the extra time to properly plan out some exciting adventures for 2017.

What’s playing (what am listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Robert Palmer – Bad Case of Loving You (doctor, doctor)img_0137

 

Update: Photo Contest Winner

Thank you for submitting your photos. There were some really beautiful shots and I hope the contest got a few people outside with their bikes, when they would have otherwise been in the warmth of their homes. 15032667_10209315403894708_1102839465245136816_n

The winning photo was submitted by Sean of his Masi cyclocross bike by a lake, on November 17th. Congrats, sunglasses will be coming your way shortly.

Tifosi Sunglasses Giveaway/Photo Contest

e91399a9-0ac6-4bd1-9966-4175f85a068dTo commemorate the 1 year anniversary of ridingmilford.com, we are having a photo contest, with the winner getting a set of brand new Tifosi Optics Lore multi lens sunglasses, in beautiful metallic red. A $70 value. Included are amber, smoked and clear lenses, soft and hard cases.

To enter: reply/comment to this post with a new photo of your bicycle in nature by this Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 4pm. Winner will be chosen and contacted on Monday, November 21st, 2016.

 

 

 

Cold Coffee & Gravel

It may be mid fall, but it felt like winter on Saturday morning, with temperatures in the low 30’s. So, I layered up and joined Steve, Eric and Mike for a ride through the Delaware State Forest, with a lakeside cafe diversion. img_0114

We met up at the Five Mile Meadow Road Parking Area on Rt. 739. Pedaling the 6.5 mile distance of Five Mile, past numerous trucks parked off the road, we were careful to be loud enough to let hunters know we were not deer!

When we reached Silver Lake Road, we turned right, climbed the pot holed hill and made another right into Little Mud Pond Road, another gravel horseshoe, with a beautiful lake or shall I say pond. The boat launch, while blocked by a tree that was chewed in half by a beaver, served as our cafe this morning.

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Beaver lunch!
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Thermals, Blue Jeans and Coffee!

The wind off the lake made it difficult to light the gas stove and it never really got super hot. Oh well, cool coffee is better than no coffee!

We headed back out to Silver Lake Road and cruised over to Standing Tall Trail. One of my favorite roads, Standing Tall winds through the deer management area, staying at an almost even grade for three miles with one creek crossing. The gravel is loose this time of year, but you can still pedal rather quickly back to Five Mile Meadow Road. A left and we dropped back down to Rt. 739 and into the parking area. img_0118

Afterward, Mike, Steve and I enjoyed a “hot” cup of coffee at a local deli in Lord’s Valley. I’m gonna breakdown and pick up a Biolight stove. With colder days ahead, it’ll sure come in handy!

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Doors – Break on Throughimg_0120

 

Election Night Gravel Ride

Tuesday, after work, I met up with Eric and John for a night ride on the McDade Trail. I did not want to go home and watch any more of this election. A lengthly spin on the gravel surface was just the right diversion.img_0103

A couple of hours of pedaling appeared to be a good idea and it seems as though a few other people agreed. With headlamps mounted, we entered the trail from the Dingmans Falls parking area and rode towards Bushkill. It was still light out as we rode past the General Store and through the corn fields. You know it’s hunting season when your tires are crushing shotgun shells instead of corn. Maybe it’s me, but I’m not sure they’re biodegradable.

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John’s Bontrager 180 reflective jacket and helmet look cool when the light hits them

It was at times a challenge to keep our bikes on the trail as the leaves were piled a few inches thick in some areas. We decided to turn around at the bridge over Tom’s Creek. We turned our headlamps on and pedaled toward home. We laughed most of the way as a descent or sharp turn is not as easy to see at night. I say this because it was me that missed a turn and rode into the woods. Eric did the same, but recovered before he got too far off the trail.

Night time riding is different and although you can’t get lost on an out and back trail, pedaling in the dark helps create the adventure.

I went home, ate, showered and went right to sleep. I wasn’t going to let politics ruin my night. I didn’t find out who won the election until I got to work today. Whether or not your happy with this election, channel your energy by going outside. Ride, hike, paddle or run!

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Blood, Sweat and Tears – Spinning Wheelimg_0105

 

 

Philly Bike Expo

On Saturday, I drove down to Philly to attend the Philadelphia Bike Expo. It was advertised as something of a cross between Inter-Bike and The North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Now, I’ve never been to the NAHBS, but I have been to Inter-Bike in Las Vegas, a 3 day show of all the industry has to offer. img_0101

The trip served a dual purpose as my wife and I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time with our daughter, who attends University a few blocks from the PA Convention Center. Arriving, finding parking and checking in were a breeze. The girls had shopping on their agenda, so I was on my own.img_0096

At check in, I was handed a ballot with all 35 hand made bicycle manufacturers listed. I simply had to pick one and drop it in the box on the way out. On display, were wheels, tires, tools, bike bags, clothing and almost every cycling related product. Hand made bikes  were spread, throughout the expo. Two of my favorite bikes on display were from Velo Orange, the Pass Hunter and the Campeur. Although Velo Orange was not on the ballot, their bikes and components are reminiscent of a time when things were rather simple and built to last, with a few modern touches. img_0091

After a few hours of checking out the goods, I met the girls for lunch at a fantastic Malaysian restaurant. Afterward, we went back to the convention center to check out a women’s book fair. Way too much estrogen for me, so I snuck back into the bike expo for one more quick look at all the bikes on the ballot. I won’t tell you how I voted, but here are some pics of the ones I thought stood out from the rest.